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5 Steps To Prepare Your HVAC Systems for Winter


Cincinnati winters are notoriously brutal, making it imperative for homeowners to take the necessary precautions to ensure their HVAC systems can withstand the season. Preparing your heating and air conditioning equipment for the cold weather is easy to do and requires little help from your trusted HVAC technician.

Clean & Cover Your AC Unit

In 2020, Cincinnati saw more than 29 inches of snow during the winter season for the second-snowiest February on record. With all that snowfall to worry about, it’s easy to see why the first step to preparing your HVAC equipment for winter is protecting your outdoor AC unit. Clear away any fallen debris — such as twigs, leaves, or grass clippings — with a garden hose, then wait for the unit to dry.

Once the system has dried completely, locate the electrical circuit to power down the system for the winter. This will prevent your air conditioner from starting up if there’s an unseasonably warm day during the colder season.

After you’ve powered offer your exterior unit, be sure to place a waterproof cover over it. Ensure there’s enough room for the system to breathe so no mold, mildew, or excess moisture builds up over the winter months. As snow and ice accumulate, be sure to brush it off your unit to prevent system damage.

Consider Adding More Attic Insulation & Weather Stripping

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Cincinnati homes should have attic insulation with an R-value of 49 due to the extreme cold weather. To put this into perspective, the average home’s attic insulation has an R-value of 38.

If the contractor who installed your home insulation was unaware of the recommended R-value for the region, or if you’ve lived in your home for over a decade, you could have insufficient insulation installed in your attic. Consider hiring an HVAC technician to inspect your attic for failing or insufficient insulation so you can prevent heated air from escaping your home this winter.

Alternatively, if reinsulating your attic is out of the picture, you can opt for DIY insulation methods. Place weather stripping around your doors and windows to keep drafty areas from negatively affecting your home comfort during the colder months.

Change Your Dirty Air Filters

Even when they’re not in use, your furnace will collect dust and debris in its air filter. Before you power on your system for the season, be sure to replace your air filters to prevent system failure. Be sure to mark down the date when you changed your air filter so you can do so again within three months.

If you have pets or are an allergy sufferer, you may want to change your filter every month to prevent poor indoor air quality.

Schedule Annual Heating Maintenance

Now for the part that you can’t do on your own: an annual heating tune-up. While it might not sound necessary to have an HVAC technician service your system every year, nothing could be further from the truth. Heating maintenance is an essential part of furnace ownership and may even be required by your manufacturer to keep your warranty active. Not only that, but professional heating maintenance helps:

  • Extend the life span of your system
  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Reduce heating costs during the winter
  • Decrease furnace repair requests and premature breakdowns
  • Enhance overall system performance

Experts recommend having your heating unit serviced at least once each year, preferably in the early fall. If you’re not sure when you last scheduled a heating maintenance appointment, contact our team to get the HELP you need!

Crank Up Your Heating System

Finally, before the winter arrives and after your heating maintenance appointment, be sure to turn on your heating system at least three times. Be sure to allow your furnace to heat the home to the desired temperature you set during the winter, letting your living space heat up to the full temperature before turning the system off.

Doing this will help instill the confidence you need going into a Northern Kentucky winter, knowing your system can meet your comfort needs.

Get HELP With Your HVAC Winter Prep!

Whether you’re looking for a recommendation regarding your attic insulation or have a furnace that requires professional maintenance, HELP is on the way.

Our expert HVAC technicians have years of experience servicing the unique needs of Cincinnati families and their home systems. We offer the comprehensive heating maintenance and winter preparation services you need to keep premature system failures at bay during the brutal cold.

Schedule heating maintenance with the team at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains today!

Posted in: Heating, Maintenance

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