HVAC Safety Tips For The Christmas Season

HVAC Maintenance in Burbank, CA

9 Essential HVAC Tips for the Christmas Season

The Christmas season is a time of joy, peace, and holiday cheer. As Christmas day draws nearer, you will likely see an increase in decorated homes and neighborhood festivities. Unfortunately, safety hazards, HVAC unit failures, and energy bills are also on the rise during this time. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe and warm during the upcoming holiday season.

1. Unclog Your Air Vents

Whether you are a minimalist or maximalist Christmas decorator, there’s a chance you could unintentionally block one or more of your interior air vents. Christmas trees, Santa Claus statues, and life-size nutcrackers are just a few of the décor pieces that can potentially block airflow. Smaller pieces, such as decorative ribbons or cracked ornaments can also sneak into your ventilation system.

As you are mapping out your décor plan, make sure that your décor pieces are as far away from your air vents as possible. When your vents are blocked or obstructed in any way, airflow is restricted. Along with overall discomfort, restricted airflow can cause a sharp increase in your monthly energy costs because your system will have to work even harder to warm up your home.

2. Keep Your Thermostat Uncovered

There are those who see Christmas as a time to garnish every nook and cranny of their homes with holiday charm. If this describes you, there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking this approach. However, you should be careful to leave certain parts of your home untouched. This includes your thermostat.

Unlike your vents, your thermostat doesn’t emit any airflow. So, covering it with a holiday adornment may not seem like such a big deal. However, when you block or hide your thermostat, it prevents the heating system from accurately reading the temperature inside your home. This could cause the entire system to function improperly.

3. Remove Flammable Items

Do you use space heaters, radiators, or electric blankets to stay warm during the winter? Although these items are not necessarily a part of your HVAC system, there are still certain precautions you should take to ensure the safety of your home. Some Christmas décor pieces include fabric, decorative paper, and a host of other materials. If any of these items were to come into close or direct contact with one of these heat-generating appliances, they could pose a serious fire hazard. Make it a point to keep holiday décor and other flammable household materials away from these appliances.

4. Choose Your Tree Wisely

Small Christmas decorations aren’t the only fire hazards to watch out for. If you’re not careful, your beloved Christmas tree can also pose a risk. Even though you may want a large, stately tree, this may not be the best idea for your home. Instead, you should consider size over appearance. A tree that’s too large can interfere with your heater, furnace unit, or fireplace. Opt for a tree that can stand at least 4 feet away from your indoor heating sources.

Real trees should be watered daily. If you realize you aren’t good at caring for plants, you should probably choose an artificial tree. Dried-out Christmas trees have been known to cause engulfing fires. On the other hand, if you do purchase an artificial tree, you should make sure to dust it off thoroughly before setting it up. A dusty tree can breed mold, which can significantly decrease your indoor air quality.

5. Declutter Your Outdoor Unit

Over time, your outdoor HVAC unit can become clogged with twigs, branches, dirt, debris, and frost. When temperatures are mild, you may not notice the negative effects of these unwanted debris pieces. As outdoor temperatures drop, you will begin to depend on your HVAC system even more than before. Although these units are built to handle the extra pressure, they aren’t necessarily built to handle clogs and blockages. Not only can debris inhibit airflow, but it can also cause significant damage to other parts of the system, including the condenser coil and the compressor.

6. Schedule an Air Filter Replacement

The HVAC air filter is a key component that is often overlooked. As its name suggests, the air filter helps to filter out pollen, dust, and other harmful particles. The filter system helps to trap the particles, preventing them from entering your home. If your filter isn’t replaced regularly, the dirt accumulation can reduce or block airflow. Along with creating an uncomfortable living experience, a dirty filter can significantly reduce air quality. When the filter is clogged, it is unable to properly trap contaminants.

A clogged air filter can also strain your entire HVAC system, making it susceptible to premature breakdowns. An emergency HVAC failure is bad enough in and of itself, but a breakdown during the Christmas holidays is even more disconcerting.

7. Check Thermostat Settings

If you plan to go on a Christmas vacation, don’t forget to check and properly set your thermostat. Before leaving your home, make sure that your thermostat is set to “auto.” Otherwise, it will run constantly, causing your system to overheat and fail.

After setting the fan to “auto,” lower your thermostat to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This may seem extreme, especially during the winter. However, because you will be away, there’s no need to aim for “comfortable” indoor temperatures. Lowering your thermostat will help to prevent frozen pipes and reduce your energy costs.

8. Check for Air Leaks

Take a walk through your home and check for potential air leaks around your windows and doors. You may even spot a few cracks and gaps near your baseboards. If you want a more thorough inspection, feel free to give us a call. Our technicians are equipped to detect and correct leaks that may be more difficult to locate. There may be hidden air leaks in your basement, attic, or crawlspace.

9. Schedule a Professional Maintenance Inspection

All of the aforementioned tasks are essential if you want to help ensure that you have a safe, happy, and comfortable holiday experience. However, routine maintenance checks are even more important. A pre-winter HVAC inspection can help to improve efficiency, decrease energy costs, extend the life of your unit, and improve indoor air quality. The average inspection includes several basic tasks:

  • Cleaning of coils and drains
  • Checking refrigerant pressure
  • Inspecting safety controls
  • Lubricating essential moving parts
  • Inspecting connections and wiring
  • Inspecting the thermostat

Give Us a Call Today

Preparing your home and HVAC system for the Christmas season may seem tedious and demanding. However, all of these steps are needed to help ensure your safety and comfort. If you live in Burbank, Thousand Oaks, Mission Hills, or anywhere else in Los Angeles County, we are happy to assist you with these tasks. We also provide a host of other HVAC-related services to our Southern California neighbors, including furnace replacements, furnace installations, air conditioning repairs, home energy audits, ventilation services, and air purification products. To schedule an inspection or to inquire about these important HVAC tips, contact Air Max HVAC today.