Air Filters

Highroad Heating and Cooling suggest checking filters monthly. If you have a disposable type filter with a cardboard edge, check to see if it is dirty and then replace it. Don't attempt to clean it. Some higher efficiency 1" pleated air filters can go up to three months (read instructions on filter) before needing replacement.

If you have a paper or disposable type of filer don't attempt to clean it. See below on how to clean permanent filters:

Step 1. Locate and remove your air filter after turning off your furnace.

Step 2. Spray off the filter from both sides using a garden hose with good water pressure. Repeat this process several times. Watch the water pressure so that it does not damage the filter. Once the water runs clear and the filter is clean you can move to step 3.

Step 3. Shake off the excess water from the filter. Leave the filter out to completely dry before reinstalling it. Then reinstall it.

Step 4. Put the air filter back into rack. Always note proper airflow direction when inserting.

Step 5. Repeat in one month.

Different systems have different filter locations. Usually, there is a filter access in the return air duct next to the furnace or indoor unit. This can be in a basement, crawl-space, utility closet, garage, or attic. Sometimes, especially with older systems, the filter is located inside the furnace itself, next to the blower motor. And some systems have a central filter grille installed in a wall or ceiling. The grille swings open, revealing the air filter.

Some systems, especially larger ones may have more than one air filter. They can even be different sizes.

If you have more than one heating and/or air conditioning system, then you definitely have more than one air filter.

Humidifier

Many people with central humidifiers go into the cooling season forgetting to shut down the humidifier for the summer. Many people go into the summer forgetting to shut down their humidifier. Your air conditioner will not cool or dehumidify properly if the humidifier is still running. Don't forget to turn your humidifier off at the end of each heating season. You should use this time to clean out your humidifier and to remove or replace the water panel.

Step 1. Turn the humidistat to the off position or the lowest possible setting. The humidistat is usually installed on the return air plenum above or near the humidifier, but sometimes it is installed on the wall near your thermostat.

Step 2. Close the bypass duct damper or turn it to the Summer position if possible. It can be found at the humidifier or in the round duct connected to it. Not all humidifiers have a duct damper.

Step 3. Turn off the water-supply to the humidifier. If you are unsure how, just follow the water line from the humidifier. Turn the valve clockwise until it stops.

Step 4. Clean the humidifier, remove or replace the water panel, and leave dry until winter.

*Note, If you have a float type humidifier with a saddle valve (such as the GeneralAire Model 81) that doesn't provide 100% shut-off, you can either manually lift the float by placing an object underneath it to keep the base dry, or you need to have your saddle valve inspected or replaced. Then clean or replace pad, drum, pan, and float.

Air Conditioner

To minimize energy usage and reduce utility costs, the air conditioner coils should be cleaned at least once a year. It is estimated that dirty evaporator and condenser coils can increase the energy usage of your air conditioning system by over 30 percent.

The most common causes of evaporator coil leaks are a clogged drain line or a rusted condensation pan. The drain line can get clogged with all sorts of things, like insects, mold or dirt, which then means the water coming off the condensation coil has nowhere to go

These are the most common reasons why your air conditioner is leaking water inside the house: a clog in your condensate drain line, a frozen evaporator coil (due to a clogged filter or refrigerant leak) or dirty or damaged coils.

When your AC air filter is dirty, partially blocked, or completely clogged, your air conditioner's evaporator coils are more likely to freeze up. This can cause excess water to overspill from the drain pan..  If the drain pipe is blocked, it could cause water to leak from your AC.

Service Schedule

It can sometimes be difficult to identify when your furnace needs repairs. However, High Road has assembled a list of common symptoms that may mean your furnace needs repairs.

Furnace Fails to Start
The biggest indicator that your furnace needs repairs is if it fails to start. This is most commonly caused by your pilot light going out. Your burner could also be dirty or broken, or the gas valve may be malfunctioning. These parts are all vital to the operation of the furnace. You should get them checked as quickly as possible.

Not Enough Heat
If your furnace has been on and your home doesn’t seem to be getting warm enough, you may need to schedule a service call with High Road. The thermostat could have a problem with sensor or your furnace may not be getting enough fuel.

Short-Cycling
Short cycling basically means your furnace shuts down early before it can complete one of its heating cycles, only to turn back on again for a brief time. A malfunctioning thermostat or issues with the ductwork may be the cause. It is also possible that your furnace itself is too large or small for your home. A High Road professional will need to look at your heating system to diagnose the exact problem.

Cold Spots
Cold spots are noticeable dips in temperature within your home. You can tell you've hit a cold spot when you're walking through the hallway or into another room and you encounter an air temperature that's colder than the rest of your house.

The first assumption that's commonly made when cold spots appear or don't go away is that there's an issue with your furnace. That may be the case. Your unit may be too big or too small to be effective in your home. However, the culprit for your cold spots might be something else entirely. Poor insulation may be to blame. Another potential cause is an inadequate ducting system. If you're facing this problem, it could be anything from incorrectly sized ducting and pipes, an improperly sealed duct system, or just too many twists and turns. Call High Road and we can determine which solution will fix your cold spot.

Air Conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the air conditioning checked in the spring.

Lower Heating Costs

Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.

Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.

When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.

When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.

If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.

Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.

When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly--approximately 1 inch--and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.

If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.

If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.

Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.

Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Find out more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning appliance efficiency.

Use light-emitting diode -- or "LED" -- holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.

Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.

*Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Highroad Heating and Cooling does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide.

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