The 5 things you can do to prepare your HVAC for the Fall
  • Posted on November 15, 2023
  • By Rod Miller

As autumn rolls in and we start to spend more time inside, it’s essential to keep our homes healthy and our heating costs down. At Rod Miller, we would like to share our tips to prepare your HVAC for the fall with you. 

Air filters and humidifier pads might not be the first thing on your mind, but they are key to clean air and a smooth-running heating system. A quick check and change of these parts can make a big difference. You’ll breathe easier and keep your energy bills from going up. 

Let’s get into the simple steps you can take to make sure your air is fresh, and your home is cozy for the colder months ahead.

Change your air filters and humidifier pads

Air filters and humidifier pads are critical to maintaining a healthy and efficient home environment. They are something you shouldn’t neglect, as they can lead to decreased air quality, higher energy bills, and undue strain on your HVAC system. 

Both of these can impact the health of your family since as the weather gets colder, you will spend more and more time indoors. Clean air filters and humidifier pads ensure that the air you breathe is free of allergens and irritants and on optimal humidity levels. So, every time you prepare your HVAC for the fall, you should look into changing these parts.

How can you change these components? 

Changing these two parts is not as difficult as you might think. Once you learn about air filters, you can easily change them: 

  1. Locate your filter’s housing, which is typically found in the return air duct or blower compartment
  2. Remove the old filter and make a note of its size and type
  3. Purchase a replacement that matches the size and recommended MERV rating for your system 
  4. Install the new filter, making sure it faces in the correct direction (the frame should indicate airflow direction)

In order to change your humidifier pads, you need to: 

  1. Turn off the water supply to your humidifier
  2. Open the humidifier panel and carefully remove the old pad
  3. Clean the frame and tray that hold the pad to remove any mineral buildup
  4. Insert the new pad precisely as the old one was positioned, typically with the coated or marked side up
  5. Close the panel and restore the water supply

Prepare your HVAC by cleaning vents and registers

Vents and registers are the points of air exchange in your home. They allow heated or cooled air to circulate throughout the rooms and return it to the HVAC system. Over time, they collect dust, pet hair, and other debris. All of these can potentially worsen the air quality in your home, and sometimes block the vents, and restrict airflow, which increases the utility bill. 

With an easy step-by-step guide, you can clean your vents and registers and be sure your HVAC is ready for the fall. Here is what you need to do: 

  1. Turn off your HVAC system: It’s safer to clean your vents and registers while the system is off to prevent dust from being blown around.
  2. Remove vent covers and registers: Unscrew or gently pry them open using the appropriate tool. Some may simply lift or slide out of place.
  3. Vacuum the vents: Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean inside the ducts as far as you can reach. This removes loose dust and debris.
  4. Wash vents and registers: Wash the covers with warm, soapy water, and use a brush to remove any stuck-on grime. For metal vents, you can also use a mild disinfectant. Make sure they are completely dry before replacing them.
  5. Clean the ductwork (if accessible): For more thorough cleaning, you can also clean inside the exposed parts of the ductwork. However, be careful not to damage any components. For a deeper clean beyond what you can reach, consider hiring a professional duct cleaning service.
  6. Wipe down and dry: After you’ve washed them, wipe the covers and registers down with a clean cloth and allow them to dry completely to prevent mold growth.
  7. Replace vent covers and registers: Once everything is clean and dry, replace the vent covers and registers, ensuring they fit snugly.

Check and seal ductwork

Once you decide to prepare your HVAC for the fall, you should also check and seal ductwork if needed. Your HVAC ductwork is the network of tubes that carries heated or cooled air throughout your home. Over time, these ducts can develop leaks or separations due to various reasons, including regular wear and tear, poor installation, or damage from pests or renovation work.

Leaky ducts can lead to inefficiency, additional costs, uneven heating or cooling, and even mold. The best way is to do an inspection, then if you find small leaks, fix them with the material you have. You can start with the following:

  1. Visual inspection: Begin by inspecting all accessible ducts in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and garages. Look for sections that should be joined but have separated and for apparent holes.
  2. Seal with foil tape: For smaller leaks, you can use UL-listed aluminum foil tape. This tape seals heating and ventilation ducts and is different from the typical “duct tape.”
  3. Professional help: If ductwork is hard to access or you’re unsure of the extent of the leaks, it’s wise to enlist the help of a professional. HVAC technicians have specialized tools and equipment to test for leaks and seal them effectively.

While you can address small leaks with DIY methods, larger or inaccessible ductwork issues require professional attention.

Test the system 

Regular testing can catch potential issues early, avoiding unexpected breakdowns during cold weather when the system is under more stress and when you rely on it for your comfort and safety. In order to be totally ready for the fall, you should do the following: 

  1. Thermostat check: Start by checking your home thermostat. Is it outdated, or does it need new batteries? 
  2. Run the heat: Turn on the heater and let it run for a few minutes. After a short period, you should feel warm air coming from the vents. If the air isn’t warm, or if the system doesn’t start, there could be a problem.
  3. Listen for unusual noises: As the system runs, listen for any unusual sounds such as banging, rattling, or whistling. These noises can indicate mechanical problems or airflow reductions.
  4. Check vents for airflow: Make sure all vents are open and unobstructed, and check the airflow from each. Weak airflow could indicate a problem in the ducts or the HVAC unit itself.
  5. Inspect the outdoor unit: For heat pump systems, inspect the outdoor unit. It should be free of debris, and there should be a clear area around it for proper airflow.

Prepare your HVAC for the fall with professionals

Finally, you can always schedule an HVAC checkup done by professionals so you are absolutely sure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is ready for the cold. When you make that call to set up an appointment, it’s typically best to aim for a date before you need to switch the system over to heating full-time. This way, you have time to make any necessary adjustments. 

What happens during an HVAC checkup? 

During the checkup, an HVAC technician will conduct a thorough examination of both the indoor and outdoor units. They’ll clean key components that are difficult for you to reach and handle safely, such as the blower motor and the coils. These parts, if left unattended, can collect dust and debris that impair the efficiency and longevity of your system.

They will also ensure everything is operating as it should. This involves checking electrical and gas connections, depending on your system type, to ensure there’s no risk of hazards and that the system is up to code. For gas heaters, this is also about making sure that there’s no carbon monoxide leak, which can be a silent but deadly threat.

Furthermore, the professional will make sure that your system’s controls are in good working order. They’ll look at the start cycle, operation, and shut-off sequence to ensure everything is calibrated correctly for efficient and safe operation.

The benefits of professional HVAC maintenance are clear: by keeping your system running smoothly, you prevent breakdowns, save on energy costs, and extend the life of your system. 

Prepare your HVAC for the fall and enjoy

With the chill of fall just around the corner, you should prepare your HVAC for the fall. Taking care of your home’s heating and air system is like getting ready for a big game – it’s all about being prepared. 

When you clean or change your filters, check your vents, and ensure everything is sealed up tight, you’re setting yourself up to win against cold drafts and high bills. It’s like giving your home a pre-winter pep talk. 

So, when it’s time to snuggle up indoors, you can relax knowing that you’ve done everything to keep your space warm and your air clean. And if you’re not sure about doing it all yourself, there’s no harm in calling in a pro. At Rod Miller, you can simply schedule your maintenance, and we will be there to help you. 


HVAC Service

We offer HVAC diagnostics, repairs, and service, quickly and according to what best fits your needs. We won’t try to sell you a new system if your current one will work. We also offer free second opinions on diagnoses done by other companies.

learn more

HVAC Installation

We design and install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with a focus on integrity and quality. Your new system will be designed to fit your space and installed by our professionals according to the highest industry standards.

learn more

Service Agreements

We offer recurring service agreements to provide the best and most efficient care for your HVAC systems. We’ve designed our service to save you money and stress, with regular inspections and prioritized services to prevent unexpected breakdowns.

learn more


Getting the most from your investment is important.
Here’s another way we help.
30% Off HVAC Inspection

Get 30% off an HVAC Inspection 16 Point Efficiency Inspection, cost per unit.

Limited Time Offer

$75 off First Year of Labor Service Agreement
$25 off First Year of Maintenance Only Service Agreement

$75 value