Considering the local climate, buying a heater for your home in Jacksonville may seem pointless. Yet even this far south, it can get too cold for comfort, especially at night between November and May. You and your family will be healthiest and most comfortable if you invest in a quality heater and turn it on whenever you decide it has gotten too cold.
Unfortunately, while many Jacksonville homeowners invest in heaters, few know how to operate or maintain them properly. This is understandable given how infrequently most families in the area need to use a heater, but it can still present serious problems for both your health and the integrity of your building. To stave off these threats and heat your home effectively, follow these steps as the cold weather sets in:
Conduct an HVAC Inspection
The longer that you go without using your home heating system, the greater the chance that either the heater itself or the ventilation system used to distribute hot air will fall into disrepair. This can create a number of serious problems. Broken heating and ventilation systems consume more energy to create and distribute the same amount of heat. This raises your electric or gas bill while increasing your home’s impact on the environment. Depending on how your HVAC system is broken, it also may be less effective at filtering allergens and pollutants from the air; this can put you and your family’s health at risk.
To avoid these and other issues, inspect your HVAC system in detail before it gets cold enough to use it. Look out for areas where insulation has deteriorated, for equipment that has become rusted or otherwise damaged, and for filters that have become clogged with dust or particles. By shoring up these issues ahead of time, you improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of your heating.
Test the System
Even the most effective HVAC inspections cannot detect 100 percent of heating and ventilation issues. You should thus supplement the inspection by turning your heater on for roughly one hour at the start of the season. Pay attention to how long it takes for heat to spread throughout your home, as well as to any changes in your energy bill that result from running the heater. If heating takes longer or consumes more energy than usual, that’s a sign that you must repair or replace the system.
Watch Out for Dry Air
Outdoor air tends to be drier during the winter, and the act of heating air up only further reduces moisture. This means that when you turn on your heat during the winter, you risk exposing yourself and your home to air that is almost without moisture content. Dry air raises your risk of getting sick, and it can also cause your flooring, paneling, and other parts of your home to crack or warp. Thus before you turn on your heating system, you should make sure the air is not too dry, and take steps to improve moisture content if it is—for instance, try getting a humidifier.
Transition to Higher Temperatures
Switching your HVAC system from cooling to heating overnight puts too much pressure on the equipment, raising the risk that it will break. Instead, transition gradually to higher temperatures. When the temperature first starts dropping at the beginning of fall, turn the AC off without activating the heater. Then turn the heater on at a low level as it gets colder, and slowly raise the temperature as needed to stay comfortable.
For more information on heating, cooling, and ventilation for your Jacksonville home, contact Snyder Heating & Air Conditioning today.