5 Scares You Don’t Want In Your Home’s HVAC System
Halloween is quickly approaching, the season of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers. After all, who doesn’t like a good scary movie? There’s nothing quite like a jump-in-your-seat, hide-under-the-blanket horror film — fall was made for them with its cool temperatures and dark nights.
As fun as it is to watch scary movies, however, making these five mistakes could cause a real-life scare within your home:
Mistake #1: Blocking air vents.
HVAC systems depend on airflow to run properly. If you block the vents, whether through furniture or decorative elements, the system is losing its main source of air, hindering its ability to run efficiently.
The scare: Blocking air vents can cause the system to get clogged and run improperly. Furthermore, it will be more difficult for your HVAC system to maintain a comfortable temperature. Avoid covering your vents and dust them often to keep your system running smoothly.
Mistake #2: Allowing your thermostat to get too hot.
Your thermostat is like the brain of your HVAC system. It controls the temperature of your home, but more importantly, it keeps the components of your HVAC system running smoothly. Allowing it to get too warm, either by covering it up or putting it in a bad spot (next to electrical devices or direct sunlight that may cause it to heat up) can cause problems for your entire system.
The scare: Thermostats work by reading the temperature of your home and making adjustments accordingly. If the thermostat is covered and warms up — or is next to devices causing it to get too hot, such as lamps, decorative lights, televisions, or stereos/speakers — it can throw off its temperature adjustments and overwork your HVAC system.
Mistake #3: Not keeping up with furnace filter maintenance
Air filters are crucial to any HVAC system. They help keep furnaces, air conditioners and air ducts clean by preventing particle buildup from things like dust, dirt, pollen, and other harmful pollutants in your home. Generally speaking, air filters should be changed or cleaned every 30 to 90 days. However, you can extend the life of the filter by getting a high MERV rated filter, which will filter out more pollutants and debris from your air, not only keeping your equipment safe but also keeping your lungs safe.
The scare: Old or clogged air filters can reduce the amount of airflow through your system. This puts added stress on your air conditioner or furnace and can cause costly breakdowns. Changing air filters or utilizing ones with a high MERV rating can help to avoid this and keep your system running smoothly.
Mistake #4: Not installing a CO2 detector.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas created by respiration. Translation: humans and animals breathe it out, and it’s found everywhere we are. In small doses it’s harmless, but when it builds up in the home due to malfunctions in your HVAC system, it can be deadly. Breathing difficulties, headaches, fatigue, and in extreme cases, nausea and vomiting are all signs CO2 is building up in your home. Installing a CO2 detector can help monitor the amount of CO2 in your home and keep it from reaching dangerous levels.
The scare: If there is an issue with your furnace, such as a cracked heat exchanger, bad gas valve, or clogged or dirty burners, it can lead to an abundance of CO2 in your home, which can lead to death if not handled properly. Not installing a CO2 detector or failing to perform maintenance on your detector can cause CO2 buildups to go undetected, putting you and your family at risk.
Mistake #5: Ignoring tune-ups and duct repairs.
It’s easy to fall behind on tune-ups and repairs for your HVAC system, even skipping routine maintenance check-ups altogether. However, an HVAC system is a like a car — a small tune-up now can help avoid a big repair later. Proper maintenance and tune-ups can prevent small problems from snowballing into big ones. Especially when it comes to ducts, even a small leak can cause a big impact to the airflow of a system.
The scare: Skipping maintenance check-ups can allow problems to go undetected and worsen, potentially causing permanent damage to your HVAC system. Ducts are crucial to the airflow of a system, and leaks cause air to escape. Wasted air is wasted money.
Save the scares for the movies this Halloween and keep your HVAC system in prime condition. No tricks, just treats.