Whether you’re expecting just one out-of-town visitor this holiday season or planning a Christmas getaway, now is the time to make sure your HVAC system is up to the task. The last thing you want to wake up to is a broken heat pump or furnace, especially if you have friends coming over. Our professional technicians at Air Temp Control in Greenville SC, provide this advice to make your home’s HVAC system ready for the holidays.

1. Replace the Air Filter

Changing your air filter is one of the most critical things you can do for your HVAC system before the holidays. The air filter is usually housed in its own enclosure. It is a component of the air handling system. The door to the housing should be marked, or you can use the manufacturer’s diagram to find it. To enter the air filter container, you may need to use a screwdriver. Remove the old air filter. Throw it out if you notice dust or dirt in it. Replace the air filter. Line up the arrows for correct air filter alignment. Check the filter monthly, and replace it no more than three months apart.

2. Put the Carbon Monoxide Detector to the Test

If you have a gas furnace or any other gas-powered appliance, you should test your CO detector. The lifespan of these detectors is ten years. Their batteries, on the other hand, should be examined every three to six months and replaced every one to two years. Even if your carbon monoxide detector is hardwired, it still needs batteries. In the event of a power outage, the batteries supply backup power.

3. Examine the Thermostat Settings

If you haven’t used your HVAC system’s heating function yet, now is a good time to double-check the thermostat settings. Check that the system is set to “heat.” If it is set to “auto” and your home becomes heated as a result of using the oven, your air conditioner may activate. Check the fan function once you’ve confirmed that the HVAC system is set to the heating mode. The “on” setting makes the fan run all the time, which wears out the motor and makes it necessary to change the air filter more often. The fan’s “on” option will also cause your HVAC system to blow room-temperature air, which may feel frigid. Change the fan setting to “auto.” The “auto” setting causes the fan to turn on only when the heating cycle begins.

4. Vacuum the Vent Covers

Dust may have accumulated on the vent covers in your home. Now is an excellent time to dust with your vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment. You can also remove the vent covers and clean them with a warm, soapy microfiber cloth. While the vent covers are off, use the extension hose of your vacuum cleaner to clean up the area around the vent hole. Before restoring the coverings, make sure they are completely dry. Remove any boxes or other items that may be obstructing the vents. Ensure that all of the vents are open.

5. Arrange for duct cleaning

If you noticed a lot of dust in your ducts after removing the vent covers, you still have time to arrange a professional duct cleaning before the holidays. Airflow is hampered by debris accumulation in the ducts. Your heating system has to work harder when there is less airflow. This results in increased wear and tear and may reduce the system’s lifespan. Reduced ventilation reduces the comfort of your house. During the cleaning process, the experts will look for any damaged or leaking parts that need to be fixed and let you know. Leaky ducts can waste up to 30% of your HVAC system’s warm air.

6. Modify the Temperature

When you use the oven to bake a ham, bake pies, or roast a turkey, your house may become extremely warm. If you’re also boiling potatoes and watching the holiday parade on TV, all of these heat-generating appliances could make your house uncomfortably hot. Consider decreasing your thermostat’s temperature to account for the operation of your oven and other heat-generating equipment. If you’ll be away for the holidays, set your thermostat a few degrees lower. Maintain a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above. This will keep the pipes in your home from freezing.

7. Make Use of Ceiling Fans

Hot air rises, and your ceiling fan can push it down from the ceiling and back into the room. This will boost your comfort level and eliminate the need to adjust the thermostat’s temperature. Make certain that the fan is set to rotate clockwise. This forces warm air downward and draws cool air upward to the return vent. Set the fan to the lowest setting. Make it a habit to clean the fan blades once a week. This gets rid of dust and sticky residue.

8. Keep flammable holiday decorations away from HVAC systems.

Your home may contain more flammable materials than normal during the holidays. Wrapping paper, gift boxes, and bags, as well as other materials, should be kept at least 3 feet away from your furnace, heat pump, air handler, and vents. Avoid storing fireplace wood near vents or your HVAC system. Furnaces and heat pumps require at least 3 feet of space in all directions, including the exterior unit of the heat pump. Installing a smoke detector near your heating system is also a smart idea in case of a fault that generates a spark.

9. Keep an eye out for air leaks.

Now is an excellent opportunity to inspect your home for air leaks. This can be done with a match or a candle. You can also have your home’s energy audited. If your heating system is wasting the hot air it makes because of air leaks, your heating costs will go through the roof. Air leaks are most common at door and window frames, chimneys, flues, and electrical, phone, cable, internet, and plumbing openings. To seal the small gaps and cracks, use weatherstripping, sprayed foam, steel wool, or caulk.

10. Arrange for a tune-up

If you haven’t planned a heating tune-up for this season yet, it’s not too late. A heating system tune-up guarantees that your furnace, boiler, or heat pump is in good working order. As part of the tune-up, the system is also cleaned and its performance is checked to make sure it is running as well as possible. A well-maintained heating system lasts longer and costs 30% less to run than one that hasn’t been taken care of.