01 Jun Switching From Hot to Cold
We don’t want to jinx it, but it seems like the warm weather is finally here to stay. But that doesn’t mean you should relax just yet! Now’s the time to make sure your home cooling system is ready for the season ahead. We’ve been installing and servicing HVAC equipment for years, so you can trust Gas Plus when we say that you do NOT want your AC unit to fail during a heat wave. But it’s not always as simple as pressing a button, so it’s important to understand the proper steps to take. If you’re ready to switch from heating to cooling, just take a look at this helpful list of tips, and then let us know if you have any trouble!
Turning Off Your Heating Unit for the Season
First thing’s first; you should make sure your heating system is properly turned off. In most modern heating systems, you should be able to switch off the heat directly from the thermostat. For older furnaces that use a pilot light, you will need to turn off the gas feed to the furnace.
While you’re at it, you should take care of a little heating system maintenance to make things easier on yourself in the fall. Here’s what our service specialists recommend:
- Check and Replace Your Filters
After another long season of work, your furnace filters are most likely covered in dust and debris, which forces your system to work a lot harder to circulate the air. Not to mention, if you suffer from allergies or a dust sensitivity, a dirty furnace filter can negatively affect your health. Do yourself and your furnace a favour; exchange your old filter for a fresh one. For those especially concerned about air quality, we always recommend upgrading to a HEPA filter, which does a better job of filtering out the vast majority of airborne allergens than a standard filter.
- Clean Your Vents and Air Ducts
If your furnace filter is covered in dust, just imagine how your vents must look! With a potential buildup of dust, dander, debris and even mold in your vents, it’s a good idea to get them professionally cleaned while your furnace and A/C are still switched off. This will improve your air quality and help keep your home clean. If your home uses a heat pump, then there are no vents to clean, so you’re halfway done! Just make sure the air intake on your heat pump is clear of dust and debris, and you’ll be good to go.
- Check on Any Red Flags
Over the course of the winter, you may have experienced some minor performance issues with your heating system but didn’t address them at the time. If you want to extend the life of your system for as long as possible, make sure your HVAC technician is aware of any potential issues you’ve noticed. Tackling the maintenance now could save you from compounded issues and an unexpected expense in the fall. Think of it like visiting your doctor for a physical. If you don’t let them know about the little problems, they could become much larger problems later on.
Switching on Your A/C
Now that your heating system is safely deactivated and properly maintained for the season, its time think about your air conditioning. Before anything else, it is vitally important that you turn off power to your HVAC system. You don’t want to run the risk of an electric shock, so make sure your exterior power conduit is switched to the “off” position. You can usually find this switch in a small box mounted to the side of your home.
With the power safely turned off, you can begin your AC unit inspection. Here are the steps you should take to make sure your system is in good health.
- Take off the cover
Most A/C units have a vinyl or plastic cover that keeps them protected during the winter. Once you’re sure the power to the unit is switched off, it’s safe to take off the cover for the season. If you don’t have some kind of covering for your air conditioner, we highly recommend you invest in one.
- Clean the unit thoroughly
A/C units that live outdoors can collect a lot more leaves, dirt and debris than you may expect while inactive. Oftentimes, small animals choose to hide out in the unit casings when they’re switched off, so you may have hair, crumbs and even droppings to deal with. If you want your A/C running at peak efficiency during the summer, take the time to clean up any dirt or debris you might find.
- Check for Wear and Tear
If you can see any rust or cracks on your A/C unit, don’t just ignore them and switch on the power; little problems can become bigger issues. Just like with your car windshield, small cracks can quickly expand due to fluctuating temperatures and vibrations, costing you more as time goes on. Rust doesn’t spread as quickly, but rust particles can really gum up the works and slow your system out of peak efficiency. Make sure your HVAC technician is aware of them early, and they’ll let you know what needs to be done once they do an inspection.
- It’s finally time to switch on the Air Conditioning!
Once your air conditioning unit has been properly prepped, you can flip the power switch back on and activate the A/C from your thermostat. But don’t get too excited and crank it all the way up to ‘max’. Make sure to ease your air conditioner into use, so it has time to properly warm up. Too much power too soon could put serious strain on your system and even result in a malfunction or costly repairs.
To ease your air conditioning into use, start by setting the thermostat just below your current room temperature. Then, step outside and make sure the A/C unit is running properly. The only sound you should hear is the fan kicking in after a few minutes. Once you’re sure it’s running properly, step back inside and check your vents for proper air flow. If everything seems to be working, you should be safe to gradually lower the temperature.
Book Your Next Inspection in Advance
The final step before relaxation is to plan ahead and book your next HVAC maintenance for the fall. If you’re not on one of our maintenance plans, it’s important to let us know early that you want us back next season. Our maintenance schedule is always full to bursting, booking early will ensure you’ll be taken care of without worry. We’re always happy to handle your HVAC maintenance to save you the trouble, and with regular inspections we can attend to issues early and help keep you comfortable all year round.
If your air conditioning needs replacing, we can help there too! Gas Plus offers installation and maintenance on a number of different A/C models that we’d be happy to provide. If your home doesn’t have any duct work, we also offer heat pumps that can provide fantastic home heating and cooling without the need for existing vents. For more information, just give us a call! We’re always happy to connect and talk about keeping you cool. – 519 372 9949