When it comes to gearing up for the fall season, you may think about pulling your cozy sweaters out of storage, crisp sounds of leaves crunching underfoot, or the taste of warm apple cider. What you probably weren’t thinking about is making sure that your HVAC system is gearing up for the fall season, too.

As the temperatures begin to drop and the days begin to shorten, your HVAC system will no doubt be put to the test. By following this guide to autumn HVAC maintenance, you can make sure that your system gets an A+.

Change Your Air Filters

Summertime in East Tennessee can be particularly brutal on your HVAC system. After months of protecting your home from dangerous pollutants, your air filters are most likely covered in dirt and debris–not to mention that unforgettable golden dusting of pollen that the Tennessee is famous for! This summer, pollen counts soared in Tennessee as a result of warmer temperatures, so you can be sure that your air filter is jam-packed with the stuff.

By installing new air filters every three months, you can help your HVAC system work better and last longer. Clean air filters also aid allergy sufferers in the fall season when weed pollen, ragweed, and sagebrush allergies tend to flare up.

What You Should Inspect in Your HVAC System

To make sure that your HVAC system is functioning to the best of its ability, you will want to check out several key areas of it. Taking the time to schedule an inspection for your heating system, duct system, and to check for air leaks in your home can mean better system performance and lower energy bills. Three important components of your HVAC system to check on are your heating system, duct system, and for any air leaks in your home.

Heating System

Gone are the sweltering days of summer. Soon, temperatures will begin to drop and your heating system in your HVAC will become relevant once again. A thorough inspection of this system by a qualified technician will leave you secure in the knowledge that your system can handle the colder days ahead with no problem.

Duct System

Unlike in the movies, your duct system is not just for the stars to crawl around in. The duct system of your HVAC consists of tubing that runs throughout your home and delivers either heated or cooled air to each room. Leaks in this tubing or insulation that need to be replaced can cost homeowners valuable heat and money during colder months. Give some thought to your duct work before the colder months truly hit, and you can save yourself the heartache of having to wear your winter coat to bed.

Home Air Leaks

Air leaks in your home could be causing your HVAC system to work harder, not smarter. Windows and doors are the most common places that homeowners discover air leaks, which allow heated or cooled air to escape the home and cause you to lose money on energy bills.

To inspect your windows or doors for air leaks, the paper test is a good trick. Insert a piece of paper into your door or window frame and shut it. If you can easily pull the piece of paper through the frame, you probably have an air leak. Take some caulk or weather-stripping to these leaks to seal them right up!

What You Should Clean in Your HVAC System

It’s likely that cleaning the components of your HVAC system wasn’t on your mind this summer. However, an uncleaned HVAC system can prove to be both dirty and dangerous. This autumn, make sure that your HVAC system is polished up and ready to go. Important elements of your HVAC system that you should clean include your registers, chimney, and outside unit.


Have you checked your registers lately (or ever) for buildup? Registers are the grates that cover the ducts in your home, and they can be circulating pollutants, fall allergens, or pet hair as they deliver heated or cooled air to each of your rooms. Registers can be cleaned by removing them from the floor or wall and using some good old-fashioned soap and water. 


When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system, your chimney cannot be overlooked. Chimneys that are not properly serviced and cleaned can cause heated air to escape your house and cooler air to be drawn in, contributing to a much higher energy bill in the cooler months. Improperly serviced chimneys can also be dangerous, with the Chimney Safety Institute of America estimating 25,000 fires each year  that are attributed to chimneys. Take time to have a professional service your chimney each fall.

Outside Unit

Have you checked on your outdoor HVAC unit recently? There’s a good chance that it is covered in debris. Sweep off any noticeable debris and inspect your unit for damage. If damage is spotted, consider handing over the reins to a qualified technician.

Other HVAC Maintenance Tips for Autumn

A few other helpful maintenance tips will help you be on your way to preparing your HVAC system for the upcoming fall season.

Test and Adjust Your Thermostat

Before the temperatures begin to drop too drastically, test your thermostat to ensure that it’s working properly. If the set temperature does not match up to the true temperature of your home, it may be time to call in a pro.

Once you ensure that your thermostat is in fighting condition, you can start setting it higher during the day. Although it may seem trivial, adjusting your thermostat higher is a sustainable way to conserve both energy and money.

Give Your System a Break

After a long summer of working overtime to keep you cool, your HVAC deserves to rest. Allow your system to take a breather by using fans instead of adjusting your thermostat. Take advantage of the cool autumn breeze by opening windows and doors to allow cooler air to circulate throughout your home. Your HVAC system will thank you.

During the cold winter months ahead if your furnace has a humidifier, it will be working tirelessly for you and your family. Viruses, including Coronavirus , thrive in low humidity environments which can allow them to stay viable and in the air for longer. Keep your family healthy by allowing your humidifier to rest during the higher humidity of autumn so that it is ready to function when the colder, drier temperatures of winter emerge. Simply turn off the water supply to your furnace humidifier to give it a brief vacation. As temperatures continue to drop, the air gets drier, and winter approaches, replace the water panel (or humidifier pad), set the relative humidity to anywhere between 35 and 40 percent (depending on the outside temperature), and turn on the furnace humidifier’s water supply once again.

Open Vents

To avoid the frustration of the approaching colder temperatures, ensure that all vents in your home are open and unobstructed. Opening the vents of your home may seem like an obvious step, but if overlooked, can result in your HVAC system fighting an uphill battle to keep you comfortable.

Heating and Air Conditioning Professionals You Can Trust in Knoxville, TN

At City Heating and Air Conditioning, we are proud to offer an annual service plan that will ensure peak HVAC system performance and your peace of mind as cooler temperatures approach. Whether your system needs routine maintenance or to be replaced entirely, City Heating and Air Conditioning has got you covered.

We proudly serve Knoxville, TN, and surrounding areas with outstanding heating and cooling services by placing the needs of our customers above all else. City Heating and Air Conditioning offers HVAC maintenance, installation, and repairs for a variety of HVAC systems. Learn more about our HVAC services by giving us a call today at 865-938-1005 or completing the contact form on our website.