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How to Protect Your HVAC System From Winter Storms in Virginia

Protect Your HVAC System

The winters in Virginia can be harsh, with high winds, sub-freezing temperatures, and snow or ice storms. For this reason, it is important to protect your HVAC system – particularly heating equipment – to keep your family safe and warm during the coldest winter months in Virginia. 

HVAC maintenance includes a combination of small DIY jobs and professional HVAC service that helps you maintain an efficient, dependable HVAC system when your family needs it most. Scheduling routine preventive maintenance minimizes common furnace or heat pump problems that disrupt your comfort throughout the cold season. Below is a starter guide on how to protect your HVAC system.

1. Schedule Professional HVAC Maintenance

The first step in proper HVAC care is to schedule professional HVAC maintenance from a contractor in Reston, Virginia. By hiring a professional, you have peace of mind knowing that a certified HVAC technician is preparing your system for winter. 

During the winter, the technician will largely focus on cleaning, inspecting, calibrating, lubricating, fixing, or replacing the heating components in your protective system, such as

  • Heating element
  • Blower assembly
  • Heat pump
  • Heat exchanger
  • Air intake grill
  • Carbon monoxide levels
  • Pilot assembly
  • Thermostat
  • Belts
  • Air filter

When hiring an HVAC company in Virginia for winter maintenance, ask about discounts or specials they are offering for pre-seasonal inspections and check-ups. Also, go to their website or ask them about their annual HVAC maintenance plan. You may save money while keeping your HVAC system in tip-top shape.

2. Know Your HVAC System’s Filters

Although all HVAC filters perform the same function, different HVAC brands and models have unique requirements for air filtration. So, it’s important to know what type of HVAC filter works best for your system and how often you should change it. The best way to learn about your system’s filter is to read the owner’s manual. It provides information on the right type of filter and how often to change it. 

If keeping your HVAC system in excellent shape during the winter is a priority, consider installing high-efficiency filters with a MERV rating of 13 or higher. A high-efficiency filter traps more dust and allows cleaner air to flow through the system, creating an overall purer environment and improving your heating system’s performance. 

3. Winterize Your System Inside and Out

Winterizing your HVAC system involves protecting your outside air conditioner from the harsh winter weather and fortifying your furnace or heat pump for optimal performance. Some winterization tips include

a. Insulate AC Lines

Insulating your AC lines is a simple DIY job you can do to protect your air conditioner during the winter. Remove the current insulation if it is outdated or worn. Afterward, clean the lines and apply new insulation. Wrap the foam around the pipe. Secure it with tape if necessary. Make sure the insulation covers the entire line and protects it from moisture.

b. Cover the Air Conditioner During Fall, Not Winter

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is covering the air conditioner during winter. However, air conditioners are built to withstand winter elements. Covering your air conditioner reduces airflow and causes moisture buildup. Mold and rust occur as a result. The best time to cover the AC is during the fall to prevent leaves and debris from getting into the unit. Remove the cover during winter.

c. Build a Ventilated AC Shelter

If you insist on protecting your outside air conditioner from ice and snow, build or purchase an AC shelter. The shelter should protect the AC without directly covering it or touching it. Make sure the shelter has openings for proper ventilation. Both the walls and top should be at least three to five inches away from the AC unit. Remove the shelter in the spring.

d. Clean the Air Conditioner

Speaking of proper ventilation: If your air conditioner is surrounded by bushes, trees, and tall grass, it may be covered in debris. You want as much outside cold air blowing through the unit as possible to keep it dry. Take some time to clean around the AC unit, removing debris and anything that blocks the vents. Use an appropriate gentle household cleaner to scrub around the outside, removing dirt and stains. 

e. Test Your Thermostat

Testing a thermostat is a simple procedure. You are evaluating two things. First, you are checking to see if the thermostat triggers the furnace. Turn the thermostat and listen to the furnace. It should turn on within five minutes of you turning on the thermostat. Second, you are checking to see if the furnace reaches the desired temperature before shutting off. If you have any problems, contact an HVAC company in Virginia.

Schedule HVAC Services in Reston, Virginia

When you need a Virginia-certified technician for HVAC protection, turn to Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air. We offer professional HVAC services in Reston, Virginia. Contact us today for an in-home assessment and get an estimate on HVAC work.

Fill out our contact form or call us to schedule HVAC services in Reston, Virginia.

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