Should I Turn My Furnace Off in the Summer (and Other Seasonal HVAC Questions)
One of the things I love most about living in the Sacramento area is that, unlike in some other parts of the state, we get to experience four distinct seasons here. With our Mediterranean climate, we have hot and dry summers, wet and chilly winters, and the beautiful fall and spring seasons that fall somewhere in between.
I love every season equally, but many people I know seem to get especially excited for the summer months. Keeping up with all the heat July through September, however, can cause problems where your HVAC system is concerned. There are some vital HVAC maintenance tasks homeowners need to be aware of.
I know how easy it can be to only think of your furnace when it’s cold out—and your AC when it’s warm—but the truth is, you should be thinking about questions like, “Should I turn my furnace off in the summer?” That’s why, today, I’d like to go over that question, as well as some other seasonal inquiries, related to your HVAC system.
Should I Turn My Furnace Off in the Summer?
My short answer is that yes, you should turn off your furnace in the summer. Let me elaborate. It‘s important to know that your furnace will continue to consume energy all summer if it’s left on. The pilot light on gas furnaces, for instance, will burn gas around the clock. On top of wasted gas, electricity will be eaten up by the many sensors in the furnace that are constantly running.
Shutting your pilot light and gas supply off in the summer not only saves precious energy, it’ll save you money as well—as much as $50 a year.
Shutting your pilot light and gas supply off in the summer not only saves precious energy, it’ll save you money as well—as much as $50 a year. And, as an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about the house heating up if your kids fiddle with the thermostat like mine always do!
The only time you wouldn’t want to turn off your furnace in the summer is if you have a central air conditioning system. In that case, the AC actually uses the furnace to help circulate cool air through your home, so your furnace will still need to be on to help out with this vital function.
The only time you wouldn’t want to turn off your furnace in the summer is if you have a central air conditioning system.
If you do shut your furnace off in the summer, it’s really important that you then properly prepare your furnace for winter before you turn it back on for the chilly season. When it sits dormant for several summer months after working hard all winter long problems can arise. It’s a good idea to fix them before the cold sets in. I recommend scheduling an annual furnace tune-up with an experienced HVAC pro so that they can make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape before you power it up again.
Do I Need to Cover My AC in the Winter?
Intuitively, it does seem to make sense that you should protect your outdoor air conditioner unit from the winter elements. But, in reality, you don’t need to. Outdoor AC units are built to withstand temperature extremes, so you don’t have to worry about the rain and the chill doing damage.
A lot of people ask me if they can cover it anyways, just as a precaution, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it for a few reasons. First, a covered AC makes for a nice, warm, sheltered home for furry little friends in the winter. The last thing you want is to have to give an eviction notice in the spring and clean up the mess that the rodent tenants will surely make. Trust me when I say that they can do more damage to your AC than the weather can (hello, chewed electrical wires).
While many people cover their AC units to try and keep moisture out, covering it can actually trap moisture inside and cause mold and mildew growth.
While many people cover their AC units to try and keep moisture out, covering it can actually trap moisture inside and cause mold and mildew growth. Moisture will get into your air conditioner even if it is covered, so your best bet is to just let it be. Keeping your AC in the open air will actually allow moisture to evaporate properly on the dry days.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to get some professional maintenance for your AC when the winter is over. An HVAC pro can give your unit a good clean, change out the filter, make sure all the parts are in place and working properly, and fix any minor problems so that you aren’t dealing with AC problems in the middle of the hot summer months.
Should I Repair a Broken Furnace or AC in the Summer or Winter?
I really hope that you never have to deal with a broken furnace in the winter or a broken AC in the summer but, if it does happen, you pretty much have to get them fixed as soon as possible in order to be comfortable and safe in your home. Nobody wants to sweat it out all summer long or freeze in the winter! Plus, having a broken furnace or AC isn’t the safest thing for your home.
To prevent having to deal with a broken furnace or AC during the months when you need them the most, I’d recommend having regular tune-ups at the beginning of each season.
To prevent having to deal with a broken furnace or AC during the months when you need them the most, I’d recommend having regular tune-ups at the beginning of each season. Before you turn your AC on for the summer, call a pro and get them to make sure it’s in good shape for the summer. Same thing in the winter. Before you fire up your furnace, get a pro to tune it up so that you won’t have to deal with it breaking down in the winter. In fact, to make things easier for you, I would recommend scheduling your bi-annual HVAC maintenance right now so that you don’t even have to think about it when the time comes.
Of course, accidents do happen, so it’s a good idea to keep the number of a trusted HVAC company like Bell Brothers close by just in case. No matter the season, repairs are possible and can be done relatively quickly in most cases. That way, you can ensure you’ll be comfy in your home throughout the seasons.
At Bell Brothers, we believe in the whole home approach to safety, energy efficiency, and health. Our expert HVAC professionals would not only be happy to service your HVAC system before you fire it up for the summer months, we’d also love to make sure your insulation and windows are also working efficiently to keep your home nice and cool all summer long. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Wondering how to finance a new furnace, or maybe even new windows and plumbing? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
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