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What to Do With Your Heater When It’s Not Running

old-air-conditionerHome heating in Sugar Land, TX is different from many other parts of the country. After all, we’re now in late January and the temperatures are often in the low 70s. Since we recommend a winter setting on the thermostat of 68°F, that means your heater won’t be running much. It might turn on a few times in the evening, but when you put in a set-back temperature at night of around 60°F, that will also prevent the heater from coming on. 

You might be content to just let the heater sit there, only occasionally turning on and sometimes remaining off for days at a time. Soon you’ll start having the AC run on the regular. But … is there anything you should be doing about the heater during these winter down-times? You won’t shut it off entirely like you do for summer, but are there any maintenance steps to take? Sort of like how your car still needs care even if it sits unused in the garage for weeks at a time?

Well, yes, there are a few things to do about your heater during the lulls.

Always remember to change the air filter

This is the essential maintenance task for the HVAC system, not just for the heater. If you have a forced-air system in your house (either a furnace and AC combo or a heat pump), then the filter in place on the cabinet needs to be changed out every 1 to 3 months. Because you won’t use the heater (or the AC) often during this time of year, you can probably change the filter at three-month intervals. However, we recommend you check the filter each month to make sure it isn’t already congested. Simple panel filters clog up faster than pleated filters or media filters and may still require monthly changes.

Clean the outdoor cabinet and keep it clear

This is for heat pumps. Your heat pump uses the same components whether in heating mode or cooling mode, and that means the outside cabinet must be clean and free of obstructions to work at its best. Winter rains and wind can create problems, so make a monthly check on the cabinet to see if it needs to be hosed down or have plants, shrubs, leaves, and other debris removed from it. You want the cabinet to have clearance of about a foot on all sides. 

Schedule repairs at any sign of trouble

It’s extremely easy in our warm winters to shrug off any sign the heater isn’t doing its best. But please don’t push repairs down the road because the heater isn’t essential at the moment. Leaving repairs unattended will make the eventual repairs worse and may cause a full system breakdown at a time when you do need the heater working. If you have a gas-powered heater, these repairs are also critical for keeping the unit working safely. 

You can rely on us for any heating help you need. If you’re already starting to use the AC, we recommend getting on the schedule for air conditioning maintenance—it’s not too soon in our weather! 

At AC Comfort, your comfort is our business! Serving Katy, TX and the surrounding areas—schedule service today!

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