Get Your HVAC System Ready for Fall With These 8 Helpful Tips

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated January 17, 2022
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Warm up your HVAC system before the weather gets too cold

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The air is turning crisp, the leaves are starting to fall, and you’re breaking out your sweater collection. But is your HVAC system ready for cooler weather? Here are eight tips, from replacing your filter to sealing your windows, that’ll have your HVAC system ready for fall and winter.

1. Implement a Plan

Setting up a maintenance schedule for your HVAC system not only helps it run optimally during hot and cold weather, it’ll also ensure a longer lifespan for your system. Ideally, you should have your system inspected twice a year by a local HVAC company, once before it gets cold and once before it gets warm, for a pre-season HVAC service call

Your pro will check your system and clean it, and let you know about any major issues that need to be addressed ASAP. Tune-ups run in the neighborhood of $70 to $100.

2. Replace Your Filter Monthly

Changing your air filter is one of the easiest tips that’ll keep your HVAC system running smoothly for the fall season. The reason is simple: When the filter is dirty, the system has to work harder to push air through, putting more stress on the system. 

When more stress is placed on your system, your energy bill goes up, and you can save up to 15% on energy bills by changing your filter regularly. Your family’s health will thank you, too, especially if there are allergy or respiratory illness sufferers in the household.

3. Leverage Your Thermostat

A close-up of man adjusting digital central heating thermostat
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Investing in a programmable thermostat is a wise choice for the winter, especially if you work out of the home. You can set your home’s temperature to run lower during the day and at night when you’re sleeping and then just let it run without having to remember to turn it up and down. 

Setting the heat low when your family is out of the home and when you’re sleeping can save on your energy bills. Many new models have Wi-Fi capability and apps, so you can turn your heat up and down remotely if you forget. 

4. Seal Your Windows

You can prevent a lot of energy from being wasted by sealing your windows and doors. Heat escapes easily through small gaps and cracks under doors, so invest in some weather stripping and door stoppers to keep the heat in and the cold air out. If your ductwork has gaps, you can use aluminum or electrical tape to patch those holes.

5. Keep Your Unit Clean

If you have an outdoor unit, make sure it’s clean and free of sticks and leaves from bushes and trees. Any sort of debris can get in the way of airflow, so keeping the grates clean all season is a must. You can also hose down the unit to remove dust and grime from the compressor coils, but make sure you cut the power to the system beforehand.

6. Unblock Your Registers

Heavy furniture can get in the way of airflow in your home, especially if it’s placed in front of or on top of the registers. Before autumn comes, get all of your heavy furniture away from the vents so the heat can flow freely through your rooms.

7. Make Sure Your Detectors Work

Since you’ll be shutting up your house and cycling air through it, it’s imperative that your carbon monoxide and fire alarms are both in working order. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, and it can be extremely dangerous if it somehow gets into your home. 

Doing a check of all your sensors and alarms at least once a year is a good practice to keep you and your family safe.

8. Buy a Humidifier

A close-up of woman using humidifier at home
Photo: Dmitry Marchenko / EyeEm / Getty Images

The last fall HVAC tip on our list is to consider buying a humidifier. If you don’t have a full home humidifier, purchasing one can keep your indoor air from getting too dry and staticky during the colder months. 

Humidifiers have many health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic, including preventing dry sinuses, easing breathing problems, and keeping your skin hydrated.

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