Austin Winter AC Preparation
While Austin is not known for bitterly cold winters, that doesn’t mean you can skip winter AC preparation. Admittedly, the cooler weather in Austin isn’t cold enough to run the heat, so it does help keep the AC unit cool.
However, as crazy and unpredictable as Texas weather is, we could end up with a few 30° cold snaps this year. Austin residents aren’t used to temperatures that low, so you know we will be cranking up the heat if that happens.
When you turn that heat on, what do you do if your furnace fails and reeks of smoke? It’s definitely not a good sign—but it is a situation that could be prevented with scheduled winter AC preparation. In fact, when you compare the cost of most major furnace repairs to winter prep service it’s a no brainer.
Why Furnaces Fail In Austin
If you observe your furnace regularly, it will give you the signs of either proper operation or signs of trouble. It’s not like a digital readout, but if you pay attention and have a good sense of smell—it will be pretty clear. The key is knowing what to look for, what certain signs mean and taking preventative action to avoid costly failures.
The simple fact is: furnaces in Austin may not be used often, but they don’t just suddenly fail for no reason. The top reasons furnaces fail here is usually one or a combination of some of the following:
Failure To Perform Winter AC Preparation/Inspections
Regular maintenance of mechanical equipment is crucial no matter what it is. When you don’t schedule services like winter AC preparation or inspections you pay for it dearly in the end. These inspections and preparation services can identify early stages of wear or developing issues. When you address and correct those issues early on, it prevents a domino effect of problems that can add up. Even in a mild winter climate like Austin, a minor issue can snowball into a major failure.
Furnace filters are literally the lungs of your furnace. When they are clear and clean they function as intended. But just like a smoker that downs 2 packs a day vs. a non-smoker—clogged filters choke the system. The particles of dirt and soot are normal in filters—that’s what they do, filter.
However, they need to be changed regularly to make sure the furnace is getting sufficient air. Filter replacement is a regular part of a winter AC preparation service and filters are cheap. When you fail to change that filter though, the reduced airflow causes the fan to fail. That fan and the limit switch that operates it are costly repairs.
Wear And Tear
Wear and tear is part of life, it’s going to happen to your furnace and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. However, you can stay on top of it with regular inspections from an Austin HVAC professional such as Oasis.
Wear and tear doesn’t always mean a costly repair, in fact, more often it is negligence that makes it worse. When you notice wear or minor repair issues early on and fix it right away, it costs much less than ignoring it. It’s also more likely that most people don’t ignore the problems—they just aren’t even aware of them. This is why regular inspections are so crucial and proper scheduled maintenance. It’s just like a car—would you drive 10k miles without changing the oil?
Electric Ignition/Pilot Light Problems
The ignition system and pilot light are the cornerstones of what makes your furnace operate. When either one of those is defective, it makes it impossible to heat your home, no matter how good your furnace is. Typically, a bad thermocouple, drafts in the attic, or clogs in the gas line are the culprits.
The good news is, thermocouples are very inexpensive, and the other problems are easy to fix as well.
The thermostat works in tandem with the thermocouple and it is what tells the furnace to fire up and heat. A failed thermostat can cause the furnace to malfunction which can also affect the pilot light. Similar to how a water heater works, these tend to fail more often in cold temperatures.
Other Problems Due To Lack Of Winter AC Preparation
Typically, most issues on furnaces are just wear and tear and as long as you keep an eye on things, you’re ok. However, when you don’t prep your furnace every winter you are rolling the dice with an expensive system. Because of mild winters in Austin, many residents overlook winter prep, but it can cause serious problems such as:
Blower Runs Non-Stop: A blower usually won’t just up and fail without giving some signs prior. More often, what we see in Austin homes is a lack of maintenance that allowed filters to clog. When winter ac prep is performed, filters are changed, blower motors are lubed, and many other checks are done. It can’t be stressed enough how crucial this service is.
Excessive Noise: If your furnace is making a lot of noise when it fires up—shaking, clanging or other noises—it’s a bad sign. It usually means a severe burner clog or some type of airflow obstruction. This would all be avoided, however, with regular winter prep every year.
Clogged Burners: Many people may not realize it, but your burners can clog. It can be from rust sediment or other particles in the lines. Either way, winter prep service will pick up this issue early, and get it corrected.
In Between Winter AC Preparation Services
We’ve lectured your ear off about furnace failures and winter preparation in Austin. Although winter prep is crucial, there are other times between annual preparation where you can help yourself.
We understand, it’s easy to get intimidated by maintaining your HVAC system but it’s really simple. You should never underestimate the impact you can have on your own system’s life expectancy. Perform these simple checks and maintenance tasks to get the most out of your system and extend its life:
- Replace Your Air Filters: Keep those filters clean and the airflow at max by replacing filters at least once per month.
- Check Your Thermostat: Your thermostat controls when the furnace operates so make sure you keep it in proper order. Change the batteries regularly, observe on/off cycles for any abnormal signs. If you need a new thermostat—don’t hesitate as it cost a lot less than replacing the whole furnace.
- Inspect Breaker And Power Supply: Always make sure the breaker is in good shape and test it often. If it’s constantly blowing the fuse, it’s the sign of a bigger issue.
- Stop The Drafts: If the pilot light keeps going out, you may have a draft you’re not aware of from an open window. If all the windows are closed you might need new windows. If you eliminate all drafts but still have pilot issues, call Oasis for service.
- Call Oasis For Regular Maintenance: You should call us at least once a year for preventative maintenance. Our techs will inspect your furnace, components and your entire HVAC system to ensure proper operation.
Hey Austin! Experience The Oasis Difference Today
If you haven’t serviced your HVAC system in over a year or are having some issues, let us help you. We will thoroughly inspect your HVAC system, prep your furnace for winter and give you a detailed report.
Don’t let your schedule keep you from proper HVAC maintenance—we are very flexible and work to accommodate you. We will have a technician out to you on time, every time getting the job done right so that you can have peace of mind. At Oasis, we make the extra effort to continue being the best in Austin HVAC. Contact us today!