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National Furnace Tune-Up Month | Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist

By scheduling your heating and furnace tune-up early, you will avoid having to wait for service and will always get a lower service fee since there is less HVAC service demand in the fall. Despite the fact that scheduling professional maintenance is the best thing you can do to keep your HVAC system in top shape, there are some things that you can DIY for some quick and easy heating and furnace maintenance.

Furnace Tune-Up Maintenance Checklist

Here are some useful tips for maintaining your heating system for the upcoming fall season:

1. Schedule Professional Furnace Maintenance

We’ve already mentioned it, but scheduling professional maintenance is the best way to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently. Although there are a lot of things a homeowner CAN do, there are also plenty of things that are best left to a qualified technician, such as:

  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Running diagnostics and check controls
  • Checking all gas connections, burner, heat exchanger, etc.

Call Cassel Home Comfort for your professional heating/furnace tune-up in the Champaign, IL area at (217) 866-1596.

2. Fall HVAC Unit Cleaning

Now’s a good time to inspect your indoor and outdoor HVAC units to ensure that the area around them is clean and free of debris. If you notice water around your furnace, you may have a clogged condensate drain line. Click here to learn How to Clean Clogged Condensate Drain Lines. To learn how to do your own DIY outdoor heat pump inspection, click here. This includes tasks such as checking wires and plugs for damage and cleaning your heat pump/condenser coils. Although a professional will do a better job at cleaning your condenser coils, this is actually a project you can DIY. You can do a basic cleaning using just a garden hose, or you can also buy condenser coil cleaner (just make sure you consult your manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific type of coil cleaner you need).

The most important thing to check for are any flammable objects around your furnace and heat pump. Make sure there are no papers or furniture anywhere near you indoor air handler. Your outdoor heat pump should have a minimum 24-inch clearance around the entire unit. To maintain proper airflow, clean off all debris and trim back any plants that may have grown around your unit.

3. Check Your Filter

Dirty, clogged filters are probably the number one cause of furnace problems. They impeded the necessary airflow, causing your system to work much harder than it needs to. Newer HVAC systems actually have a safety shut-off switch if the filter gets too dirty. This is because a clogged filter can cause many problems such as an overheated heat exchanger and a frozen evaporator coil. To avoid maintenance and repair issues for your heating equipment, remember to check your air filter every 30 days and replace it if necessary. Most air filter are good for 30-90 days depending on usage, pets, pollen, dust, and other factors. A simple test is to hold your filter up to the light. If you can’t see light passing through, you are due for a filter change. Set reminders on your calendar and phone so you never forget this important furnace maintenance task.

Consider updating your air filter to HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance), however, this will probably involve a professional modification of your HVAC system. Always check with your professional HVAC technician before you upgrade your filters. For more information on improving your home’s indoor air quality,contact the professional air quality experts at Cassel Home Comfort: (217) 866-1596.

Watch this video to learn how to replace your furnace air filter:

If you have a washable air filter, watch this video to learn how to clean it:

4. Beef Up Insulation

Now is a great time to inspect your home’s insulation (or lack thereof) before the cooler weather comes. Make sure that all the precious warm air stays inside your house by checking both the interior and exterior of your home for air leaks.

Common air leaks are found around doors and windows, recessed lighting, where utility pipes and connections enter the home, chimney flues, ductwork, and your attic and basement. A good way to test for leaks is to take an lit incense stick and hold it up to areas where you suspect an air leak. If the smoke begins blowing in or out, you have a leak. Update your weatherstripping around doors and windows, use weatherproof caulk for any gaps less than 1/4 inch, and use Expandable Foam Spray for any leaks larger than 1/4 inch.

Watch this video to learn how to inspect and fix your home’s air leaks:

Watch this video to learn how to measure your attic’s insulation R-Value:

Call Cassel Home Comfort if you have any questions about attic insulation and their associated energy rebates –(217) 866-1596

5. Test Smoke and CO Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors should be installed on every level of your home and outside of every sleeping area. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, colorless, and odorless gas produced from fuel-burning appliances like your furnace.

To test your detectors, simply press and hold the test/silence button until the alarm/beeping sounds. If it doesn’t sound, replace the battery. If that doesn’t work, replace the detector itself. As a general rule of thumb, smoke and CO detectors should be tested once a month, batteries changed out every 6 months or so, and replacements every 5-10 years.

There is no doubt that a homeowner can do many things to make sure their heating and cooling equipment runs smoothly and efficiently, however, it is always a good idea to schedule professional maintenance every fall for heating systems and every spring for cooling systems. You don’t want to experience an emergency HVAC breakdown during a cold or hot spell. Never mind the fact that you could be compromising your HVAC unit’s efficiency and useful lifespan.

When the cold weather hits, you’ll be glad that you got your furnace tune-up out of the way in the fall.

For more information on insulation and where to seal air leaks, consult’s Tips for Sealing Air Leaks and Duct Sealing/Repair Tips.

To schedule your fall furnace tune-up or ask questions about how you can further winterize your home, don’t hesitate to give your Comfort Heroes a call at (217) 866-1596.