As the temperatures drop each year, homeowners around the country begin turning on their heat to stave off the winter chill. This is also the time when contractors and homeowners should be checking heating systems to ensure they’re working properly.
Below are some helpful tips for contractors and their customers to help keep their homes warm and comfortable during the cold winter months.
Checklists for Contractors
Before each winter season, it’s always recommended to reach out to your customers and encourage them to have their heating system serviced by a licensed HVAC contractor. This is the best way to keep it running safely and efficiently during the winter, while also spotting any potential issues that should be addressed.
The HVAC service team at GE Appliances Air and Water Solutions put together a simple checklist for contractors as they go from home to home checking on heat pumps and gas furnaces.
- Clean outdoor coils if needed. This will help to keep the coil from frosting or icing prematurely and heat more efficiently during long run times.
- Check all components to ensure they are working correctly.
- Clean indoor coils if needed, as this will help with restricted designed heat and airflow.
- Check and set the fan speed if needed. The fan should be set to deliver the proper cubic feet per minute for maximum heat.
- Replace filters. Dirty filters will affect airflow.
- Clean all ducts and vents if needed.
- Have the refrigerant level checked. Heat pumps will not deliver maximum heat, or any heat at all, with a low refrigerant level.
- Clean burners and burner compartment.
- Check manifold gas pressure and adjust to the required pressure if needed for proper combustion and maximum heat.
- Check and set fan speed if needed. The fan should be set to deliver the proper CFMs for maximum heat.
- Check all flue pipes to be sure there is no blockage.
- Clean and open all drains on condensing furnaces.
- Replace filters.
- Clean all ducts and vents if needed.
Tips for Homeowners
Whether you’re servicing a home or providing your customers with helpful advice, here are some important tips you can share with homeowners that they can do themselves to help keep their homes warm — and their systems running efficiently — all winter long.
Winterize Their Home
Ensuring cold outside air stays out is one of the most effective ways your customers can keep their homes warm, so their system doesn’t have to work harder or run longer. Here are a few things they can to do prep their homes for winter:
- Caulk around leaky windows to keep cold air from coming in through small cracks or crevices from the outside.
- Apply weather stripping around doors.
- Seal all openings to the outside of the house to ensure any potential cracks won’t let heat out or allow chilly air in.
Be Careful With the Thermostat
When it gets cold, homeowners can be tempted to crank up the heat in their houses to warm it more quickly. Any professional knows that raising the thermostat will not make a furnace or heat pump work any faster. In fact, it may even damage their unit or raise their heating costs.
Instead, encourage them to find the lowest comfortable setting and leave it there, especially when they are home. They may even want to consider turning the thermostat down before leaving the house for an extended period of time and resetting it when they return. Energy.gov reports that this simple exercise can save nearly 10% a year in heating and cooling costs.
Build a Shelter for Outdoor Heat Pump Units
If your customers live in an area that sees a lot of snow and ice during the winter, it is a good idea to shelter their outdoor heat pumps from the elements to keep the fan from freezing. If the fan freezes or gets blocked, the unit won’t work properly and could cost them more money in the long run. Remind them to follow recommendations from the manufacturer and to comply with any local zoning regulations as they may vary.
Snow and ice can also cause premature frosting or icing on the coils which could force the unit to run longer than necessary, losing any energy savings.
Depending on the size of their unit, they may be able to buy a heat pump shelter online or in stores. There are also helpful videos online that provide step-by-step instructions on how they can build one themselves.
The snow may be falling, but it’s never too early to start preparing for air conditioning season. Check out our surprising tip to keep your customers cool during the summer.