AHRI Offers Homeowners Simple Fall Season Heating System Maintenance Tips

September 23, 2016
Carrie Johnson, Director, Communications
Direct: 703.600.0377

Arlington, Va. — The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) reminds homeowners that the fall season is the ideal time to prepare heating equipment for the cold winter months to ensure it operates at its highest efficiency.

"Heating and cooling are the largest energy consumers in your home, and account for about 40 percent of all the energy used by homeowners," said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. "Taking steps to ensure your heating unit is running as efficiently as possible can help lower heating costs this winter."

AHRI offers homeowners the following tips on how to keep their heating units running efficiently:

  • Check the furnace filter and change it if it is dirty, or according to the manufacturer's recommendation, to keep dust from collecting on the heat exchanger. Keeping your filter clean can cut energy consumption 5 to 15 percent. Turn off the power to the furnace before pulling the filter out so the blower doesn't come on and blow dust throughout the system. Be sure to position the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • If you have a heat pump, clear away leaves, grass, weeds, plants, and other debris that can block airflow through the outdoor unit, which is the large metal box in your yard next to your home. Anything that collects on the unit's fins will block airflow and reduce its efficiency. In autumn, piling leaves are common culprits.
  • Check to make sure the room air vents, radiators, and/or baseboards inside your home are not obstructed by furniture.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat.

AHRI also suggests hiring a professional to service your equipment for additional maintenance. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in the system. Find a technician certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE) online at www.natex.org. Be sure to insist that the technician:

  • Checks belts and oil motors for tightness and wear.
  • Inspects electric terminals, cleans and tightens connections, and applies a non-conductive coating if necessary.
  • Checks the accuracy of the thermostat.
  • Verifies the correct electric control sequence and makes sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously.
  • Checks for and seals duct leakage in central systems.
  • Measures air flow through the heat exchanger.
  • Replaces the blower doors properly. This keeps combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide separate from the warm air circulated through your home.
  • Checks to see that the exhaust flue to the outside is clear of obstructions and in good condition from the furnace to the roof cap with all connections securely fastened. A contractor will check it by removing the flue cap near the furnace and water heater and looking through the flue to the outside. The flue cap needs to be replaced securely.

Establishing a service agreement with a reputable contractor is a good way to ensure that your HVAC equipment receives regular spring and fall maintenance for maximum efficiency and to catch problems early, before they can become bigger and more expensive. A service agreement also gives homeowners priority during the hottest and coldest months, when problems are most likely to emerge.

About AHRI

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is the trade association representing manufacturers of air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration, and water heating equipment. An internationally recognized advocate for the industry, AHRI develops standards for and certifies the performance of many of these products. AHRI's 300+ member companies manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative residential and commercial air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale in North America and around the world.




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