As the seasons change and you need heating instead of air conditioning, it is time to prepare the HVAC system for the swap. While you could simply flip the switch on the thermostat from cooling to heating, you may be surprised when it doesn't work properly. The best course of action is to have a technician come to perform routine maintenance on the system so you can be sure it will keep the house at a comfortable temperature when it gets cold outside. While waiting for the maintenance appointment, here are a few things you can do to help.
Change the Filters
Even if you are good about changing or cleaning the filters every couple of months, it is a good idea to do it again when you are about to change from AC to heat. Make sure to also clean the vents in front of the filters and check the ducts behind them. If the ducts are dirty, be sure to ask the technician about having them cleaned.
Clear Around the Unit
No matter where the furnace is, make sure that nothing is blocking it. Keep an area of about three feet around the unit clear. Move any boxes that may have been placed near it for storage. Sweep the floor and wipe the walls under and around the heater to keep dust and debris from getting inside where it can cause damage or reduce the airflow.
Test the System
Before you need to have the heater on and after you no longer need the AC, flick the switch on the thermostat to heat and let the furnace kick on. Wait a few minutes, listen to the system, and make sure it is blowing hot air. Do this a couple more times, on different days. If you hear anything strange or notice the air is not hot, let the technician know before they come. A trip for routine maintenance does not require all the different tools and equipment needed for a repair. They will ask you about the make and model of your furnace and they will want a detailed explanation of what is happening so they can be prepared.
Luckily, there is almost always at least a couple of weeks where you do not need to use the HVAC system at all. During this period, take the time to have the system serviced by residential HVAC contractors. You don't want to have to use the heater and find out it isn't working properly.