Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, and all you have to do is patiently wait for its arrival. Unfortunately, keeping your home just as wonderful during this season isn’t nearly as easy. Fall does provide an outstanding time to get your home ready for winter and stay up-to-date on some key tasks. If you aren’t sure where to start, here’s a fall maintenance guide for your Savannah, Georgia, home that will keep it looking great until spring.
Get a Furnace or Heat Pump Tuneup
Chances are your furnace or heat pump hasn’t been used for close to six months. Because of this hibernation, there’s a risk that the unit has fallen into disrepair, and fall offers an ideal time to schedule a tuneup. During this tuneup, our NATE-certified technicians will provide a thorough inspection of the unit, diagnose any potential problems, and have it running at full capacity. If you wait until winter, you risk going several days without heat, as repair and maintenance calls go up in volume exponentially.
If you have too many other things to handle this fall, a sound option is purchasing a preventive maintenance plan. We’ll work with you to create a plan that best fits your needs. Once we’re done with our 24-point process, you’ll also have the added benefits of lower utility bills and longer-lived systems due to increased efficiency. Without this essential care, you’re leaving the health of your heating systems to chance.
Manicure Your Yard and Landscaping
The summer temperatures can wreak havoc on your yard, leaving it barren or unkempt. Fortunately, the cool fall temperatures provide the perfect weather and forum to get your yard looking great and ready to explode with growth in the spring. To begin, rake all the leaves off the yard so you have a clean surface. It’s then easy to identify the places that need some fresh grass seed to fill in bare spots. This is also the time to apply a fall or winter fertilizer. These specific blends of fertilizer contain high amounts of phosphorous and potash (potassium), which help build underground grass root systems over the winter. After your final grass cutting, you may also want to winterize your lawn equipment, which mainly consists of fuel drainage and storage.
Your landscaping may also need some special attention during fall, especially if you haven’t given it the attention it needed in the spring or summer. If you have a retaining wall or stone block landscaping, you may want to clean it up, as heavy precipitation from the summer may have moved them out of alignment. Some bushes and trees in your landscape may also require a trim. Certain plant species respond better to pruning in the winter, so do your research beforehand. Once you’ve done all these steps, your home’s exterior will look perfect during the winter and have an improved appearance when the spring rolls around.
Prep Exterior Plumbing
When freezing temperatures roll in, your home’s plumbing is at risk. To make sure your pipes don’t burst, you need to prep your exterior plumbing. To begin this process, unhook all exterior hoses and drain them. If you don’t remove the hoses, water can freeze and back up into exterior faucets, causing these pipes to burst. You may also want to buy covers for your exterior spigots to keep them from breaking in the winter. The last step is to shut off outdoor water valves, which helps lower the chance of any more pipes bursting.
If you have any pipes in your crawl space or garage, you should use pipe covers or insulation to cover them and keep them from breaking over the winter.
Get Your Air Conditioner Ready
During the fall and winter, your air conditioner and furnace reverse roles. The furnace is finally thrust into work, while the air conditioner takes a much-needed break. However, you can’t just simply turn your air conditioner off. Instead, you have to get it ready for winter weather. The first step to this process is clearing debris from the outside portion of the air conditioner, also known as the condenser. Try to do this up to a few feet away from the unit. Not only will this prevent rust and damage, but it will also deter animals from choosing the condenser as shelter.
Once you’re done removing the debris, you need to find something to cover the top of the air conditioner to keep out snow, dirt, and leaves. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by purchasing a piece of plywood and laying it over the top of the unit. Use a cinder block or brick to make sure it stays in place. There are also air conditioning covers, but these may be more expensive and sometimes even help to trap debris and moisture.
Considering a New Air Conditioner? Now’s the Time
If you find considerable amounts of rust on your air conditioner, or you just found that it wasn’t working up to snuff during the summer, it’s possible you need a new air conditioner. Luckily for you, fall is the perfect time of year to make the purchase. Many manufacturers look to ship out their latest air conditioner models, and the current inventory is typically sold at discount prices to make way for the new units. If you suspect it’s time for a new air conditioner, check with us for recommendations and make sure to call us for installation. Our technicians will have your unit ready for spring and summer, and you won’t have to worry about a broken unit when the warm temperatures hit.
Adjust the Thermostat
Adjusting the thermostat may not seem like your typical maintenance activity, but it’s integral in making your HVAC system run smoothly while saving money in the process. If you have an older thermostat, this is often problematic. Outdated units don’t have the precision control of modern thermostats, and they usually only have heating or cooling.
To upgrade your home’s heating and cooling systems, you may want to upgrade to a smart thermostat. These handy devices help regulate your home’s temperature by giving you convenient programming options. For example, you can pick a weekly temperature that corresponds to the weather outside. The smart thermostat then adjusts and changes this weekly plan according to your tastes and usage. Plus, smart thermostats offer plenty of other awesome features such as real-time energy usage statistics, maintenance reminders, and air filter replacement reminders. It’s a rather inexpensive and excellent way to keep your home comfortable throughout fall and winter while saving money and lowering energy usage at the same time.
Clean the Gutters
Nobody likes to clean their gutters, but it’s a necessary evil come fall. After the leaves fall, they clog gutters with debris, causing a plethora of problems including ice dams and poor drainage. If left to the elements, this can lead to flooding in your crawl space, damage to your home, and even safety hazards. Clean all the gutters in your home and flush them with water to remove any excess gunk. While you’re on the roof or up on a ladder, you should also check all the joints and tighten any brackets as necessary. If you find that your gutters are constantly clogged, you may also want to consider leaf guards that fit over the top of the gutters and prevent excessive debris.
Go on a Sealing Inspection
One other task that’s fairly easy involves sealing and caulking portions of your home. Look for cracks on siding, trim, windows, door frames, and where exterior wires and pipes leave the home. By filling them with caulk or silicone, you prevent cold air from entering the house, as well as warm air from escaping.
Getting your home ready for the winter by starting in the fall isn’t just a great plan; it’s protection for your investment. While you can do some of these tasks on your own, you may need a professional for others. That’s when you should give Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning a call at 912-373-8447. Our expert team will have your HVAC running smoothly all season long.
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