Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Tackling your fall HVAC maintenance early in the season can help keep your family comfortable and your home’s heating and cooling systems in excellent working order all year long. From turning off your AC in the fall to keeping your home heating and cooling costs down, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning has you covered.
Download Our Fall HVAC Checklist
Our detailed checklist highlights accessible, no-expert-knowledge-needed things you can do to prepare your heating and cooling systems for the changing season. Keep this list handy and hit autumn home maintenance with all the information you need.
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Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips and Checklist
Trust us, your fall HVAC to-do list takes much less time than raking leaves! You can prepare your home’s HVAC system for a cozy autumn in just a few steps. Grab yourself a pumpkin spice latte and get started.
1. Turning Off Your AC Unit for The Season
When the dog days of summer are over, it’s time to turn off your air conditioning unit for the season. Shutting down your AC unit in the fall offers several benefits, including:
- Lowering your energy bill.
- Reducing wear and tear on your air conditioning system.
- Preventing the system from turning on accidentally.
How to Turn Off a Central Air Conditioning Unit
Most AC units can be shut down for the season in three simple steps.
- Identify the breaker switch on your AC unit. This usually looks like a light switch located either on the unit itself or on the wall of your home near the electricity supply. If you aren’t sure where the switch is, consult your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
- Remove leaves and debris. Inspect all vents and ports on your AC unit for dirt, sticks, pine needles, leaves, or anything that might obstruct moving parts inside the unit. Be sure to clear debris from around the base of the unit as well.
- Cover exposed vents to prevent snow and ice build-up on the unit. Moisture causes corrosion over time, resulting in expensive repairs and shortening the life of your AC unit.
How to Remove a Window Air Conditioning Unit Safely
When temperatures start to dip, it’s time to remove your window AC unit! Grab a strong friend or two and remove your window AC unit safely.
Note: You may need a screwdriver to open your window enough to remove the unit. AC window units are very heavy. We recommend having at least one additional person help hold and lift an AC unit out of the window. Take precautions by wearing boots or thick shoes to protect your toes.
- Turn the unit off completely.
- Unplug the unit from the wall. Wrap the cord into a coil and consider taping it to the unit itself to minimize tripping hazards while carrying the AC to its storage spot.
- Remove the front panel. This can pop off while lifting or carrying the unit and become a tripping hazard.
- Pick a place in the room to set your AC unit immediately after it is removed. We recommend putting down an old towel to catch any water that might be in the unit.
- Hold the unit steady. At this point, one person should always have two hands on the unit to prevent it from tipping outside. Dropping the unit may cause irreparable damage and could potentially hurt someone.
- Use your screwdriver to open the window frame (if necessary) or open the top of the window enough that you can reach one arm through.
- Pull one side of the AC unit into the room, letting the other side of the unit rest on the windowsill. Now, the bulk of the AC unit’s weight should be inside the room.
- When you’re both ready, pull the unit into the room completely, sliding it off the windowsill. Set it down carefully; watch your fingers and toes!
- If possible, use the towel to partially lift and slide the AC unit to where it will be stored for winter.
- Tape any additional hardware to the unit itself, including screws, covers or tags to avoid misplacing those pieces while the unit is in storage.
2. Check Your Air Filters
Replace your home’s air filters every 30-90 days to ensure healthy indoor air quality and to protect your HVAC system. Use a calendar or a reminder on your cell phone to replace your air filter regularly. Find the right MERV rating to offer exceptional indoor air quality without putting additional strain on your HVAC system.
3. Clean Registers
Cleaning your air vents each fall is an opportunity to identify potential
HVAC issues, remove any obstructions and protect your heating system once
it’s turned on for winter.
To clean your vents, you’ll need a screwdriver, a damp rag, and a vacuum.
- Remove the vent cover with your screwdriver.
- Use your vacuum to clean dust, air, and loose debris from the vent. Do not put hoses or vacuum attachments into the air duct itself.
- 3. If necessary, use your damp rag to remove thick, stuck-on dust.
Be sure to look for signs of mold or mildew in your air duct. These are dangerous airborne irritants that can have serious health implications. If you believe you have mold in your HVAC system, contact STOP Restoration for expert clean-up.
If there is considerable dust build-up in your vents, it may be time for professional duct cleaning services for better indoor air quality and to lengthen the life of your heating and cooling devices.
More Fall HVAC Tips
Fall can mean vastly different things depending on where you live in the United States and what you consider comfortable weather. Use these HVAC tips for fall to adapt your home’s indoor temperature, humidity, and energy use to meet your unique needs, no matter what the weather throws at you this time of year.
Fall Energy Efficiency Tips
Fall energy efficiency is usually easier to tackle than summer or winter.
While fall temperatures may vary more day-to-day, they tend to stay within
a more temperate range than the hottest days of summer or coldest days
of winter. Here’s how to use the variable weather to your advantage
and reduce your overall energy use.
Pick your ideal indoor temperature for fall and pay attention to a thermometer or your favorite weather app. Here’s the game plan:
Open windows when outdoor temperatures are below your desired temperature. This will help cool your home early in the morning and keep it cooler longer as temperatures rise throughout the day.
Close windows when outdoor temperatures are higher than your desired indoor temperature. This will help your home retain heat longer without needing to start your furnace for the season.
What’s the Best HVAC Setting for Fall?
The US Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees
Fahrenheit when cooling and 68 degrees when heating. Many homeowners can
maintain indoor temperatures within this range without using their furnace
or air conditioning unit at all during fall months.
Remember, you save roughly 3% on your utility bill for every degree higher you set your AC!
Fall Indoor Air Quality – Fall Allergies
Your home’s indoor air quality during the fall months can be affected by allergens and irritants the same as in spring and summer. Some of the most common fall allergies are:
The timing and severity can vary by region and by the year, but most sufferers can expect to experience fall seasonal allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, sinus congestion, and dry mouth from early September into mid-November.
How to Prevent Fall Allergies, HVAC-style
Your HVAC system is a useful tool in mitigating your worst fall allergies. In addition to replacing your air filter every 30-90 days, here’s how to escape fall allergies at home.
- Keep windows closed during peak pollen. Morning is the worst time of day for pollen levels. If you know what fall allergens trigger your symptoms, take care to keep windows and doors closed in the morning. If you have severe allergies, you may need to keep your windows closed until the first frost comes.
- Wash often! Remove allergens from clothing, bedding, and even yourself! Do laundry more often to reduce the number of allergens present on fabrics inside your home. For a professional touch, reach out to The Cleaning Authority for professional home cleaning services.
- Schedule your HVAC maintenance. We recommend an annual HVAC appointment to ensure your entire HVAC system is performing optimally. Fall is a great time to set your appointment; this allows us to conduct heater maintenance or other necessary repairs before winter starts to put a squeeze on your system.
Professional Fall HVAC Maintenance Help Is a Click Away
Enjoy all the things you love about fall comfortably. The last and most important item on your fall HVAC checklist is to call for a helping hand. Families across the country trust One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning for their fall HVAC tune-up or whenever annual maintenance is convenient for them. Schedule your appointment online or call (800) 893-3523 today!
Fall HVAC Maintenance – Frequently Asked Questions
What causes fall allergies?
Allergies in the fall are caused by ragweed. Ragweed pollen is found in
nearly every part of the United States and is particularly prevalent in
the Midwest and Northeast. Ragweed allergies are usually at their worst
between mid-September and mid-November, but it can vary regionally.
Other fall allergy symptoms are caused by trees, grass, and other blooming plants.
How do I know when to turn off the AC in the fall?
Every household has different preferences, but we recommend turning off your air conditioning when the hot temperatures in the forecast no longer exceed your preferred indoor temperature. If 75 degrees Fahrenheit is comfortable, you might consider turning off your AC for the year when the long-range forecast is below 75.
How do fallen leaves affect your HVAC?
Fallen leaves and other debris can clog your outdoor AC unit, exterior vents, or trap moisture near air ducts. Always keep your HVAC system clear of fallen leaves, sticks and dirt.
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