Fall Prep Tips to Save You Time & Money

girl prepping her lawn for fallWeather can change quickly, so it’s best to be prepared for season changes before they arrive.  Fall marks the dawn of the heating season, and your home requires special attention to maintain a safe and healthy indoor environment when you turn on your furnace.  Your plumbing needs special preparation for cold weather, too.  By preparing for fall early, it can save you time, trouble and money.

Your Air Conditioning Still Needs Attention

Fall doesn’t mean the end of hot weather – you may still need your air conditioning well into the season.  If you haven’t had your cooling system tuned up this year, then it is smart to get it done before the season ends.

As the fall weeds grow and leaves fall, keep an eye on your outside air conditioner to keep the coil clean and unobstructed so it will be ready to go for next season.  When you no longer need cooling, you may consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from yard and tree debris.  Air conditioners do not require covers to protect them from winter precipitation however, and heat pumps should never be covered.

Did you know that fall is a great time to purchase a new air conditioner?  Prices for cooling systems are lowest in the fall and spring when HVAC contractors are not as busy.  Look for good deals on air conditioners, and on furnaces, too.  Consider replacing these items in the slow fall and spring seasons to take advantage of lower prices.

Furnace Safety Checks are Critical for Health and Safety

Fire, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and indoor air pollution are potential hazards of heating your home.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 170 Americans die every year from accidental CO poisoning alone.  Furnace safety checks, CO detectors and smoke detectors are your main defense against heating system hazards.

Furnace safety checks should be done by highly-trained heating technicians like those at Anthony PHC. A partial list of tasks that should be performed during a safety inspection include:

  • Examine the heat exchanger for cracks with state-of-the-art inspection cameras
  • Test for any dangerous gas leaks such as CO
  • Test and clean the ignition system for safe and proper operation
  • Test the safety and control circuits
  • Ensure the exhaust is venting properly

CO and smoke detectors only work if they are functioning correctly.  Change the batteries in your CO and smoke alarms at the start of every fall, and make sure there is at least one of each on every level of your home.  Also consider installing the new WiFi smart alarm systems that will alert you to trouble via your phone when you are away from home.

Furnace Tune Ups Done Annually Save Energy and Satisfy Warranties

Safety comes first, but saving money and optimizing the life of your heating system is important, too.  While your Anthony PHC technician is performing your furnace safety inspection, have them perform your annual furnace tune up.  It is important to know that many air conditioning and heating components require annual maintenance to keep their warranties in effect.  And before you turn on your furnace, check your filter and replace it if needed.

Humidifiers Need Annual Maintenance, Too

Heating system humidifiers require annual maintenance, too.  Have your Anthony PHC technician clean and check your humidifier and replace the water panel.  Before turning on your furnace, make sure your humidifier is turned on, then turn your humidistat to 35% relative humidity, or the #4 setting, for optimal humidity.  Proper humidity levels can prevent the growth of viruses and bacteria and keep your nasal passages healthy.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions Could Save Your Life

Indoor air is up to 100% more polluted than outdoor air, which becomes a real concern as we close windows up for the winter.  Luckily there are several solutions available to vastly improve the quality of your indoor air.  Air scrubbers are a popular option.  UV lamps placed in your heating system can cut down on mold and allergens significantly.  Mechanical and electronic filters which replace your standard 1” filter are a great option, too.  Polluted indoor air has been linked to lung, cardiovascular and allergy problems.  Discuss the best solution for your family’s unique health needs with your Anthony PHC technician.

Don’t Forget the Fireplace

At some point you may decide to have a nice cozy fire in your fireplace.  But before the weather gets too cold or inclement, have your fireplace, flue and chimney checked for fire and gas hazards.

Protect Against Frozen Pipes with a Plumbing Inspection

Avoid broken pipes due to frozen water caused by garden hoses left attached to outside faucets.  Remove all hoses from outside faucets, drain them, and place them in storage.  Or even better, replace your outside hose faucets with frost-free versions, and you will never have to worry about forgetting your hose, because they will not freeze even with the hose attached.

Before freezing temperatures settle in, take a good look at your plumbing to determine where frozen pipes might happen, and insulate them where possible.  Any pipes in a wall adjacent to the outside or garage are at risk for freezing.  Fall is an excellent time for a plumbing inspection and safety check.  Your Anthony PHC plumber will be able to advise you on plumbing insulation tips while making sure your water heater is ready for the increased demand for hot water due to cold weather.

Natural Gas Infrared Garage Heaters Are a Great Winter Defense

One way to protect against frozen pipes is to install a natural gas infrared garage heater.  Garage heaters that run on natural gas can heat your garage for pennies a day, and warm up adjacent rooms at the same time.  Because they use no electricity, they are a great back up if your furnace stops working due to electricity outages caused by winter ice or windstorms.

Garage heaters are a wonderful way to extend your usable living space during the winter when the outdoor areas become unusable.  They help extend the life of your vehicles, too.

Your Fall Prep Checklist

In summary, to make your transition into fall easier, perform these fall preparation tasks as soon as possible in the season:

Cooling System Prep

  • Check and clean your outside air conditioner coil
  • Get a cooling system tune up
  • Consider purchasing a new air conditioner (with ozone friendly refrigerant) or furnace during the fall

Heating System Prep

  • Check your furnace filter
  • Test your CO and smoke detectors and replace the batteries
  • Get a furnace tune-up and safety inspection
  • Turn duct system dampers to the winter position
  • Schedule a fireplace, flue and chimney inspection

Humidifier

  • Turn the bypass air humidifier damper to the on position and turn thermostat on
  • Schedule to have the humidifier cleaned and checked

Indoor Air Purification

  • Install an air purification system to protect against indoor pollutants and allergens

Plumbing

  • Remove garden hoses and consider purchase of frost-free outdoor faucets
  • Insulate pipes against freezing in suspect areas
  • Consider purchasing a natural gas infrared garage heater to keep pipes from freezing

Call Us Today to Schedule a Fall Prep Visit

Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has highly trained technicians and plumbers available to come to your home and answer all your questions about preparing your home for the coming fall and winter seasons.  Call us any time of the night or day at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO to schedule fall prep service.