Checklist: How To Prepare Your HVAC For Florida Winter Weather

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Here in Florida, our HVAC systems work extremely hard to keep up with the summer heat. Most homeowners prioritize pre-summer maintenance to get their AC units up to speed for those high temps. This is a good thing. 
But, many forget about HVAC preventative maintenance for the winter months! Temperatures during our cool season can dip surprisingly low, so it’s important to know your heater is ready to go before you have to rely on it during our first cold snap. 

  1. When to Turn on Your Heat/ What to Expect

First thing, don’t wait until the first “ big chill” to test your heating system. Fall is the perfect time for a “ winter” maintenance check! 

If this is the first time you’re turning on your heat, it may smell like the house caught fire. It’s a burning smell, and it scares people. Don’t worry.  This is dust that accumulates on your auxiliary heat strip and burns off on initial start-up. It is normal and should last for only a few minutes.

Your unit’s outside

condenser coils could also freeze in the cold temps and that’s normal too. The unit will 

go through a defrosting process where steam will shoot out and water will pour and drip down. People do get worried and call us 

because the system will make hissing noises, but it is all part of the natural process. 

A few other things to remember:

Be sure to turn on your pool pump overnight and let your faucet drip to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Also, keep your windows and doors closed.

Air Masters of Tampa Bay recommends getting your cooling and heating system checked out twice a year to make sure everything is running efficiently. 

If you have any problems or need service help, call us 24/7 

at (813) 234-2419

  1. Inspect and Clean Your AC Unit

With fall leaves coming down, your external AC unit may have gathered twigs and debris. Sweep this away, cut back any nearby landscaping, and rinse the unit off with a hose.

  1. Inspect and Clean Your Internal Unit

Inspect your heating elements for any signs of wear, and clear off any dust or debris that has accumulated. Clear your drain lines, and remove any standing water from your drain pans. Make sure fans or blowers move without issue, clean off any dust, and do the same with air registers throughout your home.

  1. Check Your Detectors/ Electronics The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends changing the batteries in your smoke detectors every 6 months.    We also recommend you install a carbon monoxide detector if your garage is attached to your home. Car exhaust emits carbon monoxide. These poisonous fumes get sucked up into your garage air handler return ductwork. Any leaks, and you and your family can experience major health problems. 
  2. Professional HVAC Maintenance

While you can take care of a fair amount of the maintenance work yourself, it’s a good idea to have an expert come take a look at your HVAC system at this time. A professional can perform a few additional checks to make sure your unit is in top condition:

  • Thermostat settings: A technician will make sure that the reading on your thermostat matches the temperature of your home, making sure you maintain a comfortable temperature without losing energy
  • Electrical wiring: Your technician will check any motors, system controls, and wiring in your system, ensuring that there’s no danger when operating it
  • Condensate drain: A clogged condensate drain can lead to mold and moisture. A trained tech can clear this properly
  • Moving parts: Proper lubrication and function are crucial for all moving parts in your system, so your technician will check for wear and replace any outdated parts
  • Gas (or oil) connections: Improper connections can contribute to health problems and even be a fire hazard, so these connections need to be checked for safety
  • You may even want to consider opting for an HVAC maintenance contract, ensuring a technician will take a look at your system on a regular basis throughout the year. Air Masters of Tampa Bay offers affordable, annual HVAC maintenance plans that are guaranteed to save you money.