Temperatures Are Dropping! Shut Down The A/C and Power Up The Furnace!
While many of us wish summer would never end, that just isn’t possible here in Sudbury, Ontario.
Our summers are insanely brief, which is why Canadians take advantage of every summer’s day. Because they know it could be the last one of the season!
Soon, leaves will change colour.
The wind will pick up.
And frost will blanket our yards.
If we’ve learned anything as Sudbury homeowners, it's that preparation is key.
You never quite know when the next season will arrive! And having your HVAC system ready and waiting can save you a heap of stress.
So, as you say your goodbyes to the brief heat of summer, don’t forget to start gearing your efforts towards the upcoming fall season.
Not sure where to begin?
Our Fall HVAC Checklist can help guide your transition - step by step!
Shutting Down Your Air Conditioner
Below are 5 crucial steps to shut your air conditioner down for the fall season.
While these steps are simple, they are also vital. Each of these steps ensures your system is in good working order - so you're always one step ahead of our ever-changing seasons.
Once you’ve powered off your air conditioning system, follow our checklist below!
Clean Your Outdoor Condenser Unit
Your outdoor condenser unit consists of many moving parts - all working to remove heat from your indoor air.
Because your condenser is outdoors, it’s not only vulnerable to the weather but also to surrounding dirt and debris.
Leaves, sticks, and other debris can quickly clog up your system - preventing efficient airflow.
And while this won’t harm your air conditioner during its off-season, it can definitely damage the system once it’s powered up.
At Campeau Heating, we recommend cleaning your outdoor condenser before packing it away for the season.
Clean Around The A/C Unit
Cleaning around the condenser unit is just as important!
After all, what’s the point of cleaning the unit itself if more dirt and debris will inevitably enter it?
Save yourself the hassle by clearing sufficient space around your condenser.
Our HVAC experts recommend at least 1 to 3 feet of clearance surrounding the entire unit.
Upon installation, your technician probably suggested,
a) Installing a concrete slab below your air conditioner or
b) Placing gravel or mulch around it.
These are very effective ways to help limit the weeds, dirt and other debris that could clog up your system.
Other landscaping solutions that help limit debris from entering your A/C unit include:
- Removing or trimming trees/plants back.
- Creating a gravel garden.
- Installing evergreen plants as a windbreaker.
- Building a protective barrier with trellis, screens or lattice boxes.
Empty Drain Lines and Pans
A clean A/C drain line is crucial for effective air conditioning.
A drain line’s job is to remove condensation from the evaporator coils and lead it safely away from your home.
But if the drain has a blockage, the condensate pan can overflow - damaging your air conditioner.
An overflowing condensate pan can even lead to water damage in your home!
How does your drain line get blocked in the first place?
Over time, sludge, bacteria and mould can accumulate within the drain line - clogging the line and preventing efficient water flow.
On the outer ends of the drain line, you also have to think about dirt, dust and unwanted insects clogging the entrances.
These vulnerabilities are why our technicians recommend having your drain lines cleaned annually.
Inspect The Unit and Exterior Pipes For Damage
The third step in shutting your air conditioner down for the season is a thorough system inspection.
Your A/C worked especially hard this year. And after powering through multiple heat waves, it deserves a thorough check-in.
During your end-of-year A/C inspection, be sure to:
- Change the air filter.
- Ensure all electrical components are working.
- Secure all physical connections.
- Check refrigerant levels.
- Check the blower motor.
- Check unit for leaks, cracks or loose seals.
Place a Cover Over The A/C Unit
The final step in shutting your A/C down for the fall season is to place a waterproof cover over the outdoor condenser unit.
This cover protects the unit from ice, snow, dirt and debris that might blow in over the fall and winter seasons.
Powering Up Your Furnace
Now that your air conditioner is safely tucked away, it’s time to ready your furnace for that inevitable first frost!
Below are 8 steps to powering up your furnace:
Clean The Inside Of Your Furnace
Before you start up your furnace, you’ll want to give it a deep clean.
After sitting back for an entire summer, the inner components of the system are bound to be dusty.
And that dust will burn as soon as you turn your heat on - stinking up your entire house!
But if you didn’t clean your furnace before shutting it down in the spring, there’s more than just dust to worry about.
Pet hair, dander, dead skin and dirt can all pile up while the furnace is in use.
So, if it wasn’t cleaned before you shut it down, all that accumulation is still there - ready to circulate in your home as soon as you turn the heat on.
Dust the blower, motor, burners and heat exchanger.
Change The Air Filter
Another common place for dust and dirt to pile up is in your furnace filter.
If you changed your furnace filter before shutting your A/C down for the summer, you shouldn’t have to replace it quite yet.
However, if you didn’t change the filter in the spring, then it’s definitely time to head to the hardware store for a replacement.
At Campeau Heating, our indoor air quality experts recommend changing your furnace filter every 30-90 days. This ensures proper airflow and healthier air quality!
Clean Your Air Ducts
Next up on your cleaning list is your air ducts - AKA the lungs of your home!
All central heating systems use a network of ducts to circulate heat throughout the home.
And, as you can probably imagine, these ducts are perfect hideouts for mould, dust and other allergens.
If neglected, your air ducts can circulate these allergens into your home, causing:
- Respiratory infections,
- Allergy/Asthma symptoms
- Other health effects.
So, before you turn up the heat, call your local air duct cleaning company!
Clear The Area Surrounding Your Furnace
Once you’ve finished cleaning your internal furnace system, the next step is focusing on the area surrounding it.
Many homeowners like to treat their furnace rooms as storage rooms.
However, this can create a dangerous hazard in your home.
We always recommend clearing your furnace room of all:
- Flammable items,
- Unnecessary clutter and
- Hazardous chemicals.
Check Belts and Pulleys
Two invaluable mechanical components of an air conditioning system include its belts and pulleys.
These two moving parts control the blower and motor.
Over time, these components can wear out - potentially causing your entire heating system to break down!
Checking for wear and tear on belts and pulleys before the cold season begins ensures these components won’t break at the most inopportune time.
Check The Limit Switch
The limit switch is a safety control within your heating system.
Its role is to regulate the temperature of the furnace itself.
The limit switch powers off the burner if specific components become too hot. Once the temperature drops, it also shuts off the blower.
This prevents the furnace from overheating and becoming a hazard to your home.
Inspect Electrical Components
Another necessary safety precaution before powering up your furnace is an electrical safety check.
During an electrical safety check, all electrical parts and connections need an inspection.
A faulty wire connection alone can cause extensive heating repairs. This is why our heating experts always recommend having these components inspected.
Test Your System
Once you’ve reset the thermostat to your desired temperature, it’s time for a test run!
You’ll want to check for:
- Furnace smells
- Furnace noises
- A malfunctioning pilot light
- Ineffective heating etc.
Notice something out of the ordinary? If so, it might be time to schedule a furnace maintenance visit with your Campeau Heating technician.
Need a Furnace Upgrade? See Our Sudbury Heating Selection!
If your furnace is beyond repair, you need a new heating system - fast!
The cold weather won’t hold off forever. And, as we mentioned above, the first frost can arrive at any time.
If you need a furnace upgrade this fall, browse our heating selection!
We offer a variety of heating solutions, including:
- Geothermal and
Our heating team at Campeau will help you find the right fit for your home!