Is Your HVAC System Prepared for Winter?

The sun is setting earlier, football season is underway and cooler temperatures are here. It’s time to think about preparing your HVAC system for the heating season. Including the following steps in your fall maintenance plan can help you save money and prevent common problems throughout the winter season.

  • Replace air filters on heating systems. Clogged filters greatly reduce airflow, energy efficiency and heating performance.
  • Check the belts on fans and pumps. Tighten loose belts and replace torn ones.
  • Grease or lube motors and clean heating and cooling coils.
  • Make provisions for shutting down chilled water/condenser water systems, including draining down cooling towers or checking the operation of cooling tower basin heaters.
  • Flush the pump suction diffusers and air separator strainers in your heating system. Do the same for the cooling system before shutting it down for the winter.
  • Review the occupancy schedules for each space and each unit to make sure you are only heating spaces when they are occupied. It is important to check this each season as occupancy hours of the building tend to shift from one season to another as people begin coming in earlier and/or leaving later.
  • Use a calibrated, portable temperature sensor to verify the accuracy of each space and unit temperature sensor and/or thermostat. Place the calibrated sensor in the same space or air stream as the building/system sensor and verify it is within an acceptable tolerance range.
  • Check all of the space and/or discharge air temperature set points to verify that they have not been changed, and review the trend data for each to verify that they remain within the appropriate range.
  • Check flues and direct vent combustion air intakes and discharges for blockages.
  • Verify outside and mixed air dampers are operating properly to maintain minimum outside air requirements without drawing in additional outside air and causing unnecessary energy use. Be sure to consider the economizer mode of operation where applicable when verifying damper operation.
  • Check the operation of the low temperature safety devices and alarms.
  • Check the general conditions and operating status of your humidifiers. Make sure humidifiers are powered up and operational, the drains are not clogged or leaking, the inlet water line strainer is clean, there is no scaling or debris in the tank and verify that the humidifier operates to maintain set point.

For more information on things you can do to prepare your HVAC system for winter, please contact Michael Rader, PE at or (717) 845-7654.

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