Fall HVAC maintenance checklist: 16 things you should do now

Jason Van Steenwyk
| 3 min. read

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Major winter storms are still months away, but as the weather changes, it’s important to pay attention to your property’s HVAC units, furnaces, and related systems. Doing it now will pay off when the weather is frigid.

Inspect Rooftop AC Units and Vents

Remove leaves, debris and obstructions to leave room for melting snow and ice drainage and removal.

Clean Around Outdoor Units

Keep at least 2-3 feet of space clear in the area surrounding them.

Purchase and Install High-Efficiency Pleated Air Filters

New filters feature electrostatic charges that attract particles, rather than allowing them to pass through. They’re far more effective at filtering air particles, dust, pollen, mold, and dander.

Turn on Each Heater/Furnace

You’ll know immediately if there’s a serious problem. If you wait until the first freeze (or wait until your tenants turn them on for the first time) you’ll be dealing with cold, unhappy residents and a long wait for a technician.

Schedule a Combustion-Efficiency Test

You should hire a qualified technician to do this for you.

Inspect Refrigerant Lines

Ideally, you’re doing this every month, so make it part of your regular property maintenance services.

Check Heat Exchangers for Leaks

If your boiler is leaking water, it needs to be serviced.

Replace Humidifier Filters

Again, now is the time to do it. Don’t wait until winter, when you’ll have to go down to the frigid basement or attic to do it.

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Set Your Humidistats

Depending on where in the country your properties are, this may vary: The Florida Solar Energy Center recommends an RH setting of 62 percent, but those in northern climates may be more used to something below 55 percent.

Take Care of Insulation Issues Now

Fall or spring are the best time to do this work, but if your residents are unhappy and cold this season, you don’t want to be dealing with it in the dead of winter.

Upgrade Insulation Material

Newer materials are much more efficient than legacy insulation, so if you’re doing insulation work already, now is the time to upgrade.

Install Heat-Resistant Radiator Reflectors

Put them between exterior walls and radiators to keep more heat in.

Check Pipe Insulation

Exposed pipes should be wrapped to protect them from freezing weather.

Clean Air Conditioners

Dump a cup of bleach and water (50-50 mix) into each air conditioner condensate drain. This will kill algae and mold and help prevent clogging.

Have Chimneys Cleaned

If your property has chimneys, flues, vents and fireplaces, it’s critical to have them cleaned and serviced every year. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that more than 20,000 residential fires per year can be traced back to fireplaces and chimneys.

Inspect All Alarms

Winter is notoriously risky for both fires and carbon monoxide. Now is the time to change the batteries in all of your detectors and alarms.

Read more on Maintenance & Improvements

Jason Van Steenwyk

Jason is a freelance writer and editor, as well as an avid fiddler. His articles have been published in a number of real estate publications including Wealth and Retirement Planner and Bankrate.com. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with his cat, Sasha, and an unknown number of musical instruments.

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