5 Fall HVAC Tips for Northern Virginia Homeowners


Sep 11, 2017

Hot and Cold: 5 Fall HVAC Tips for Northern Virginia Homeowners

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Fall is a favorite time of year for many Northern Virginians. Leaves change. Temperatures cool. The intensity of summer is replaced in our cities and across the countryside by the mellower sensations of autumn.
 
Fall is not all football games and pumpkin spice, however — in fact, fall can be a complicated season for your HVAC system. You may toggle between your air conditioner and your heater on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. This switch from cooling to heating and back again can put real strain on your equipment.
 
Heating and cooling account for about 48 percent of the energy use in a typical American home, making it, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the largest energy expense for most homeowners. 
 
Let’s prepare for colder months ahead. Our Fauquier heating and cooling pros compiled five fall HVAC tips to ensure your Northern Virginia home is cooled as efficiently and effectively as possible.
 
 
1. Replace your air filter.
When your home’s air gets dirty, it makes your HVAC system work harder. This, in turn, increases the cost of your energy bill. The Department of Energy notes that replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower energy consumption by five to 15 percent.
 
A new air filter has benefits for the allergy sufferers in your home, as well. Fall can be a tough time for people with allergies — ragweed, mold and dust mites thrive in the late summer and fall months — and dirty air filters can worsen air quality and aggravate your family’s allergy symptoms. Replacing your air filter as part of your seasonal HVAC inspection, or even doing it yourself, removes dust, decreases pollen particles and ensures higher air quality.
 
2. Install a programmable thermostat. 
Installing a programmable thermostat and utilizing it effectively allows you to set the temperature in your home every hour of the week, planning ahead of those time you won’t be at home. The Department of Energy reports that you can save up to 10 percent of your energy costs each year simply by turning your thermostat back 7°F to 10°F for eight hours a day. 
 
Many homeowners, however, don’t think to adjust their thermostat when their leave their home. According to a study led by the Energy Analysis Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 90 percent of thermostat users set their programmable thermostat manually. That same survey also found that 15 percent of people had the wrong times set on their thermostats, making it quite difficult to program. 
 
3. Clean up your outdoor unit.
Make sure to check your outdoor HVAC unit for debris and/or damage. Over time, seasonal dirt and debris can accumulate on the coils or get inside of the unit. By removing this buildup (with the unit turned OFF), you can ensure proper airflow throughout the system. 
 
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before cleaning the unit, it’s important to turn off the power. You can then rinse out the dirt, twigs and other debris that may have collected and assess if there’s any damage. If you sense there’s an issue with your HVAC unit, don’t try to fix it yourself! If you live in the Warrenton region west of Washington, D.C., it’s time to call Fauquier heating and cooling experts.
 
 
4. Insulate your attic. 
You have to keep your warm air from escaping outside in order for your HVAC system to work at peak performance. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes more.
 
Try this simple ENERGY STAR insulation test if you’re not sure if you sufficiently insulated your attic: 
 
Is your insulation level with, or below, your floor joists (i.e., you can easily see your joists)? Add more. If you cannot see any of the floor joists because the insulation is well above them, you probably have enough.
 
5. Schedule your HVAC inspection.
Servicing your HVAC system can ensure that  it runs properly and cost-effectively. Because winter is one of the most demanding seasons for an HVAC unit, many homeowners choose to have it inspected in the fall.
 
Many companies offer HVAC inspection service agreements for an extra layer of peace of mind. Here at CroppMetcalfe, for example, we offer three different types of agreements with varying levels of service. These may include:
 
  • Priority emergency service
  • Planned maintenance inspection
  • Discounted repairs
  • Diagnostic and repair labor 
  • Repair part discounts
  • Part repair and/or replacement
 
Prepare your HVAC system for fall and beyond.
Do you have questions or concerns about the health of your HVAC system? Let us know and we can help — our five-star technicians are the Fauquier heating and cooling experts you can trust. Call CroppMetcalfe at 1-877-740-6657 now or schedule a service appointment online.