Although Florida winters can be mild, there are occasional moments when frost can strike areas. During record-breaking conditions, your home may be a little frostier than usual, and preparing for such instances can be stressful because of limited experience with the issue. Rather than panic, you can prepare early in the winter months to ensure that your home and your HVAC system are ready for dramatic temperature drops. HVAC care and home weatherization involve both indoor and outdoor steps to ensure that a bit of frost doesn’t take a major bite out of your budget.
Schedule HVAC Maintenance Before Cold Weather Arrives
Florida is one of the lowest per capita consumers of energy in the nation, averaging 210 Btu per capita in 2012. Mild winters may be one of the reasons for this ranking, but this doesn’t eliminate the need for regular HVAC care. Energy efficiency decreases in HVAC components as they’re used, and it’s through preventive care that this efficiency loss can be corrected. Preventive maintenance includes:
- Inspection of inside and outside components, including ducts, system controls, and connections
- Testing of electricity draw, airflow, and refrigerant levels
- Calibration of system controls
- Lubrication of moving parts
- Cleaning of dirty parts
As any worn out or broken components are identified, repairs or replacements may be needed to optimize your equipment and limit your risk for a problem later on. A maintenance plan is an excellent way to be sure that this service is completed before colder temperatures reach the area. However, you can also schedule maintenance as needed to address a system that may not be functioning at its optimum.
Inspect and Weatherize
Your home’s envelope can affect energy efficiency as your heating equipment operates, making it important to review factors such as caulk, weather stripping, and attic insulation. Inspect your soffit vents to be sure that there aren’t blockages. Poor attic ventilation because of blocked soffits can lead to overheating of your roofing system, an issue that could lead to problems such as ice dams if a rare snow or frost event occurs. You can increase attic insulation as long as the floor joists are still visible. However, excessive insulation can also affect the ventilation and your roofing system, so don’t overdo it.
As you prepare for frosty weather, make sure that you also pay attention to your exposed pipes and water-related equipment. Insulating tape for pipes may help in protecting against freezing. Broken pipes during cold weather can result in expensive repairs, making it important to monitor weather events in which temperatures could dip below freezing. Electric water pipe cables may also help in protecting exposed pipes. You may want to leave a faucet on at a slow drip to facilitate water movement and guard against freezing as well.
Protect Plants and Pets
As you prepare your home, consider insulation products for any fragile vegetation in your landscaping, especially citrus trees. You’ll also want to be sure that pets are inside so that poor weather conditions don’t cause harm.
All Seasons Service Network is available to inspect your heating equipment to ensure that you are ready for any frosty conditions. We also offer 24-hour emergency service if your HVAC system succumbs to excessive seasonal stress. Call our office to schedule an appointment.