Autumn HVAC maintenance checklist: 8 steps to get you ready for winter

Follow this step-by-step autumn HVAC maintenance checklist to ensure your system stays fully functional during the colder months.

When summer ends, it pays to be proactive and ensure your commercial/domestic heating system is ready for winter. It not only helps reduce your carbon footprint and keeps you warm when you need it most, but it’ll save you a lot of money as energy prices continue to soar. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of essential tasks to help you navigate the autumn period without any heating problems.

Your eight-part HVAC maintenance checklist for autumn

1. Check the thermostat

With every change of season, it’s important to adjust your thermostat appropriately to stop your energy bills from spiking.

It might seem counterintuitive that you could save money during the autumn and winter months when the heating is required. However, the thermostat temperature doesn’t have to be set to an extreme level for warmth and comfort. We suggest setting your thermostat to around 21 degrees Celsius for optimal warmth without driving up your electric bill.

Additionally, adjust the thermostat to turn the heat down in the middle of the night while you’re asleep. Taking the time to make these minor adjustments can save your finances in the long run.

Secondly, ensure your thermostat is in working condition before winter begins. To get started, try cleaning the inside of the thermostat to remove any dirt and dust. You can use a soft brush and alcohol wipes to gently brush the interior components.

Finally, check if the thermostat box is level, as a misaligned thermostat can alter the accuracy of internal components.

If you have doubts about how well your system has been maintained, then contact your local HVAC contractor. They will provide advice on what needs doing now so that everything runs smoothly when you turn it back on next year.

2. Check the filters

Changing the air filters is a key component to maintaining your HVAC system. You might be wondering how often you should replace or clean them, and the answer is that it depends on a variety of factors.

Before cleaning, determine if your type of air filter model is permanent/semipermanent or a disposable model. Permanent/semipermanent models can be cleaned, vacuumed, or washed, while disposable models require replacing. Other factors include building size, pets, indoor air quality, and air pollution levels.

Generally, you should check the filters every one or two months and even more frequently if you have a pet or are prone to allergies. Cleaning your HVAC air filters ensures your system operates efficiently and provides good indoor air quality.

Find out more about air filter maintenance here.

3. Clean the ducts

Regular duct maintenance is an essential part of maintaining your HVAC system. Not only does it help the functionality of the system, but it also prevents any allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems from flaring up.

However, this necessary task is not an easy one, so it’s recommended that you contact a professional. We have all the proper tools to clean the ducts to help maintain a healthy environment through cleaner air. This isn’t just crucial for autumn and winter but should be consistent all year round.

4. Clean up debris around outdoor units

During the colder months, it’s imperative to monitor your outdoor unit. Natural seasonal effects require us to remove any leaves, dirt, sticks, and other debris that may have accumulated on or around your outdoor unit.

Cleaning up allows maximum airflow, increases the system’s performance, and prolongs its lifespan. Beyond a general tidy-up, we also recommend protecting your outdoor condenser with an air conditioner cover or caged shield to prevent debris from falling and damaging your unit.

5. Tune up your heating system before winter

Before the winter months set in, always tune up your heating system. Tune-ups can include changing heating unit filters and checking motor brushes for wear. Doing so will help keep heating systems running efficiently during cold weather.

Lastly, check fuses and circuit breakers are all working correctly before the colder months hit. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

6. Check the coils for leaks

Leaky coils affect system performance, energy usage, and occupant comfort. So, the next stage of your autumn HVAC maintenance checklist involves checking the coils for holes and leaks. Be sure to seal the holes to prevent air leakage.

Here are some other tips to keep your heating system in pristine condition:

  • Check for odours when your system starts.
  • Listen for any abnormal noises when your system starts.
  • Inspect the blades to determine wear and tear.
  • Check the base for blocked drain openings.

7. Rotate ceiling fans (if applicable)

Ceiling fans are often added to a home or commercial building and then forgotten about unless it needs repairing. An interesting fact about ceiling fans that often goes unnoticed is that specific fan rotation pushes air in a certain direction.

In the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counter-clockwise, pushing cool air down to the floor. To prepare for the fall and winter months, rotate your fan to spin clockwise and pull cool air up toward the ceiling.

Knowing that heat rises, this push of cold air will cause the warmer air to travel down the room, keeping you warm when you need it most. Many people find that they can turn their thermostat down by using this ceiling fan hack. This is a quick task on the checklist, all you do is toggle the switch on the motor, and you’ll be good to go.

8. Change to a green energy source

With energy prices soaring in 2022 and 2023, there has never been a better time to change your traditional heating system for an eco-friendly one.

Air source heat pumps are an electric eco-heating system that absorbs solar heat before utilising a small amount of electricity to compress this heat into a suitably high temperature. Now, the energy is ready for space heating, such as radiators or underfloor heating.

Find out more about how a heat pump works with our comprehensive pros and cons list.

Providing it’s designed and installed correctly, an air source heat pump can be an effective eco-heating system that’s both cheap to run and friendly for the environment.

Keeping Up with Maintenance of HVAC Systems.

If your team feel uncomfortable in their workplace, they’re more likely to become demotivated and unproductive. Routine maintenance of your HVAC system can help improve productivity by maintaining a comfortable temperature and reducing humidity – particularly in winter.

Most of the health risks linked to poor air quality can be lowered with the correct air conditioning maintenance and repair. Therefore, it’s good measure to implement a planned maintenance programme in order to expel indoor air pollutants and bring in fresh air instead. Congested filters in HVAC systems are futile, as they can inhibit airflow, resulting in contaminants to recirculate and build up indoors. Consequently, it’s vital that all air movement units and devices are well preserved.

At Mid-Tech Services, we can provide a service which ensures that ventilation systems are maintained at all times. Our specialist team will clean your HVAC system’s filters and coils to eliminate bacteria, as well as check the air conditioning unit is functioning properly. We will also plan scheduled checks and maintain your systems for you, making breakdowns less likely, and therefore your business running more smoothly. The importance of ventilation in winter should be a top priority for your business.

Benefits of Good Ventilation and Air Quality.

Increased Comfort

It’s without doubt that no one enjoys working or living in an uncomfortable environment. Particularly in the winter in the UK where it can get very cold as seen over the past few years, good ventilation is necessary so that you aren’t feeling the effects of the weather whilst indoors.

We spend much of our lives working inside, therefore indoor air quality and temperature must be at a comfortable level. Focusing on daily duties in the workplace becomes much easier when being able to operate in a comfortable setting where the cold air outside isn’t affecting the indoor air. Therefore, businesses must deliver a basic level of comfort through well-maintained ventilation, in order to increase morale and productivity amongst employees. Food for thought!

Increased Productivity

Colder weather means indoor air quality becomes even worse, as air pollutants trapped indoors increase. This can make staff feel sluggish, drained, and discouraged. Therefore, it becomes harder for employees to focus on workplace duties which in turn causes reduced productivity.

A YouGov study commissioned by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) reported that almost 70% of office employees said poor indoor air quality has a negative effect on their productivity. With staff failing to deliver their best performance, this could also begin to affect business profit. Good ventilation will mean enhanced concentration, decision making skills, job satisfaction, stamina, energy and much more. And to support this even further, a Harvard study reported a direct link between improved air quality and improved decision-making!

Maintain Health and Reduce Absences

Poor indoor air can lead to eye irritation, inflammation and breathing difficulties for some individuals. It can also exacerbate some existing health conditions e.g., asthma. In some cases, poor indoor air quality can also lead to sick building syndrome, where employees experience different symptoms when inside a building but not when they’re away from it. This makes good ventilation all the more important.

Indoor air is typically more contaminated than outdoor air, particularly in winter where viruses are rife and therefore illnesses rise. These can make your employees more vulnerable to eye and nose irritations, colds, flu, dizziness, and headaches. As a result, poor indoor air quality can cause your workforce to become sick more often, thus raising the number of absences they take. This can drastically decrease the productivity of your company and can be seriously detrimental for smaller firms already struggling to stay afloat in the current energy crisis.

You can limit the air pollutants created in the workplace by:

  • Switching to cleaning products with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
  • Regular deep-cleans to eliminate mould and dust.
  • Routine cleaning of HVAC unit.

Our expert team can deliver exceptional hygiene services to give your facility a thorough, deep clean, which is necessary in colder weather, where illnesses are more rampant. Our ventilation maintenance services have been designed for disinfecting, sterilisation, anti-virus, and disease prevention, as well as air purification; a one stop shop for everything you need in winter.

Manage Humidity

A further benefit of good ventilation is the ability to be able to control humidity. ERVs (energy recovery ventilation) can recapture some of the moisture in humidified air, and in turn this decreases the energy needed to humidify fresh air. Maintaining humidity levels to be between 40% to 60% can reduce mould, dust mites, fungi, bacterial growth, and viruses. Consequently, this can also prevent health problems and allergic reactions from developing. And not to mention the fact that controlling humidity levels can also maintain the safety of products, as well as the quality of stored materials and stock.

Discover 5 reasons why you must invest in ventilation installation now!

Contact us about our routine HVAC maintenance services

In addition to the tips our HVAC maintenance checklist, we recommend having your system checked by a professional HVAC contractor. Knowing the system is in good working order will prevent repairs down the road while ensuring the air in your home is safe and clean.

If you’re looking for a company that offers maintenance and repair services across the West Midlands and surrounding areas, contact our team at Mid-Tech Services today.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow our journey on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram for more handy HVAC insights and news.