With fall starting to wind down and winter just around the corner, it’s time to prepare your home for the change in seasons. Amongst other things, this must mean addressing your home’s HVAC unit. In order to keep it working well, you’ll need to invest a little energy in it before temperatures here in Louisiana start dropping.
Check Your Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
All heaters, to some degree, produce CO as a byproduct. Fortunately, it’s in such small amounts that it doesn’t have a negative impact on the home’s occupants.
However, if the heater is malfunctioning, it can begin to burn off more CO than is necessary or safe for your health. As you probably known, carbon monoxide is a very serious threat not to be taken lightly. It is completely undetectable to human senses until it’s far too late. Every year, people all over the country succumb to CO poisoning.
No matter how many professional tune-ups your system gets, it’s still worth investing in a CO detector. They’re very affordable and will be completely worth it if your gas furnace somehow becoming a serious risk.
At least once every heating season at Berner Air Conditioning & Heating, we discover potentially life threatening CO levels in homes where the homeowners believed they were safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. One example, just 2 years ago on a routine winter tune-up and safety inspection, we discovered CO levels of roughly 200 ppm in a newer Northshore home. The homeowners told us that their young daughters experienced headaches each winter as they heated their home. The day after our making a simple venting repair to the heating system, our clients called to say that their daughters were headache free.
CO levels as low as 200 ppm at 2 hours exposure can cause headache, tiredness, dizziness, and nausea. 400 ppm at 1-2 hours exposure: frontal headaches; 3 hours: life threatening. 800 ppm at 45 minutes: dizziness, nausea, convulsions. 800 ppm at 2-3 hours exposure: death. And the higher the parts-per-million (ppm), the quicker CO becomes fatal – as quickly as 3 minutes.
Get It Professionally Cleaned
Keeping the inside of your home nice and comfortable is a dirty job. As such, your HVAC system will collect all kinds of debris from one season to the next. For one thing, dirty components will place unnecessary stress on a system’s operation and efficiency. This stress could become enough of a problem to actually cause your heating system to fail when you need it most.
You also need to keep in mind that all that dust, particulates and possibly, organic growth are only going to get circulated throughout your home if you don’t have it cleaned out. This might seem like a minor issue, but for people with allergies, it can be debilitating.
Change Your Filter
Sometimes no amount of cleaning is going to do the trick. Of course, changing your air filter regularly is the best way to ensure that your heating system runs cleaner and more effectively. One easy way to receive quality air filters is to order them through Berner A/C & Heat where they’re delivered directly to your door at a great price.
Get a New Thermostat
Another piece of equipment you might want to think about updating is your thermostat. The older ones tend to use mercury, which can be highly inaccurate (+/-3 degrees or more). Faulty thermostats cause a variety of problems, namely you’ll always be forcing your HVAC unit to do unnecessary work because you think you’re setting it to a certain temperature. Not only will this make for constant discomfort throughout your Louisiana home, but you’ll stand to be even more uncomfortable when your utility bill arrives at the end of the month.
Address Insulation Problems
Many people overwork their HVAC systems and end up paying more for utilities simply because they have inadequate insulation in their home. As with thermostats, this tends to be mostly true when it comes to older homes.
Heat rises, which means that making sure your attic is adequately insulated can mean a warmer home during the winter months. It also means a more efficient HVAC system run only as necessary to heat your home instead of constantly pumping out warm air to keep up with the amounts that are being lost through the attic. But if yours is a raised house with no insulation under the floor, you will experience cold floors in winter, which if mostly problematic for young children or babies who’s daily activities tend to be at floor level.
HVAC equipment are amazing machines. There’s no doubt about that. However, it would be a mistake to assume these modern miracles can work all on their own. The months leading up to winter is the perfect time to have your heating equipment serviced and safety inspectedFrom time to time, they need a little help from their owners. and the months leading up to winter are the perfect example.
Interested in learning more or scheduling a Winter Tune-Up? Contact Berner A/C & Heat today, (504) 828-8080 or (985) 727-2302.
Sources: Fieldpiece CO detectors, EPA, ASHRAE, UL2034