The most joyful moments of the holidays are often in the cozy evenings spent at home, surrounded by family and friends. The last thing any holiday celebration needs is a faulty heating system with a house full of guests on a cold winter day!
Our advice for avoiding heating problems will help you keep your home warm over the holiday season and beyond.
Top 10 Tips for Preventing Holiday Heating Issues
1. Test Your HVAC System
Adjust the temperature on your thermostat(s) and wait to see if the heat and air conditioning turn on as directed. If you have multiple zones in your home, check each zone. We often receive calls from homeowners who experienced an unpleasant holiday surprise when they tried to heat a part of their home they don’t use every day (such as a basement) only to find that it does not work.
2. Repair Lingering Problems
Unresolved HVAC system concerns like a recurring noise or inaccurate thermostat can turn into much bigger problems when left unchecked! Take care of these issues while they are still small to prevent your system from giving out during peak holiday season usage.
3. Keep Furniture Away from Vents, Registers and Baseboards
Many people know that blocking vents or baseboards causes heating inefficiency and that this can raise your energy bills. But did you know that doing so can also cause issues for the operation of your heating system? Keep all vents, registers and baseboards clear of furniture and other obstructions to avoid restricting the flow of air that your heater needs to operate correctly.
4. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
As you use your HVAC system, the filter gradually fills up with dust, allergens and other particles. When your air filter is clogged, your heating system won’t be able to operate efficiently and this could cause a breakdown due to extra stress on the system. By replacing the air filter, you’ll improve your heating system’s efficiency and also your home’s indoor air quality.
5. Check Your Exterior HVAC Unit
Debris on your exterior HVAC unit can decrease heating productivity and could even cause a system failure. Check your condenser to ensure there isn’t a buildup of dirt, leaves, or other debris. If you see that the unit may need a cleaning, call an HVAC professional. Trying to clean it yourself could lead to injury or system damage.
6. Set a Heating Schedule
Set it, and forget it! With all the holiday planning on your mind, who has time to think about adjusting the thermostat constantly? If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule for your home’s temperature. To avoid taxing your system, you may want to consider an average of around 68 degrees during your family’s “awake hours” and lower to mid-60’s during overnight hours. This creates a balance between keeping your home comfortable while also keeping heating bills down.
7. Plan for Zone Usage
If you plan to turn up the heat more than usual to keep guests comfortable during the holidays, consider turning the heat down in other areas of your home. If you have a multi-zone system, setting some zones lower can help you avoid overtaxing your system.
8. Manage Thermostat Access/Control
While most loved ones will leave the temperature control up to you, you may have some bolder guests who like to tinker with the thermostat and turn the heat up too high. If this applies, you may have success with simply inviting guests to let you know if they’re too warm or too cool and you'll happily adjust it. Or, a more subtle approach can be to post a note near the thermostat politely requesting for guests to let you know if the temperature could be more comfortable.
9. Plan for Time Away from Your Home
Wondering what temperature you should set your thermostat at while you’re away from home enjoying holiday festivities? If it’s set too high, you will be paying for heat you won’t use and expending your system when it’s not really needed. If it’s set too low, your home will be at risk for costly accidents like a burst pipe or damage to temperature-sensitive appliances and other home items. When you’re planning to be out of your home for more than a day, a good range to set your thermostat is between 55 and 60 degrees.
10. Have Your HVAC System Inspected
Above all, your best bet for preventing a heating issue is to have a professional inspect your systems before the holiday. A heating maintenance visit will alert you to any red flags ahead of time, and the technician can also lend expert advice for how to keep everything running smoothly with a house full of guests.
Varsity Home Service can help you get your HVAC system ready for the holidays! If you are interested in scheduling a heating inspection or you find yourself in need of a heating repair this winter, our team of expert HVAC technicians will take care to keep your home warm. Give us a call at (631) 305-2227 or click here to schedule your HVAC service online today.
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