Heating System Fall Tune Up
Homeowners are creatures of comfort and, with colder days ahead, now is the time to ensure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are in tip-top shape. Ongoing maintenance and simple tune-ups can ensure your system runs properly and efficiently, helping to reduce costly energy and repair bills.
American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning offers the following tips for ensuring consistent indoor temperature, humidity, and air quality in the winter:
Arrange Proactive Maintenance
Schedule regular appointments with an HVAC dealer to come out and service your system twice a year: once before winter and once before summer.
Change the Filters
HVAC system filters should be changed every 30 days or as often as recommended by the manufacturer. To help save on replacement costs, some manufacturers, such as American Standard, have cleanable filters that can be rinsed and vacuumed.
Check for Leaks
Windows and doors are prime suspects for air leakage. Check around every frame for cracks, gaps, and poor-fitting fixtures and then seal any leaks you find with caulk or weatherstripping.
Use the Proper Insulation
Check to make sure your home is insulated with materials that have the proper "R-value." An R-value is the measurement of how well insulation resists heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulating power. The R-rating you need depends on the region where you live, the type of insulation, and the part of the house being insulated.
Program the Thermostats
Save energy by installing a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature during the day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
Upgrade to Two-Stage Heating
Most furnaces have single-stage heating systems, which deliver a blast of warm air followed by an off cycle and then another full blast of warm air, causing very noticeable temperature swings in the winter. Gain efficiency and comfort by upgrading to a two-stage system such as American Standard's Freedom 80 or 90 Two Stage Furnace—the first stage runs more than 80 percent of the time, and the second stage switches on only as needed to provide more heat.
Control the Humidity
Static electric shocks, dry nasal passages, and parched skin are signs that your home's humidity is too low. A humidifier can be attached to your furnace to add moisture back into the air during the cold winter months. American Standard offers whole-house humidifiers with integral sensors that can be set to automatically control humidity levels within your home.
Ensure Cleaner Air
Believe it or not, the air inside your home can sometimes be more unhealthy than what's outside, causing potential problems in your family's health. American Standard's air cleaners can be attached to the furnace and help remove unwanted particles from the air in every room of the house.