Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips For Homeowners
Fall is here and it’s time to jump into those yearly HVAC cleaning and maintenance tasks. They may not seem very fun at the outset, but doing these every year can save you money and help to increase the value of your home. Let’s dive into our list of yearly fall HVAC maintenance and cleaning tips.
Tuck The AC Away For The Winter
Once the temperatures start to drop and stay down, then you will be running your AC unit less and less or have stopped running it already. To keep your outdoor AC unit running properly year after year, you’ll want to do these things to it in order to keep it working at peak efficiency.
- Inspect your AC unit and the area around it. Clear out any debris, dirt, or trash that may have collected around the outside intake fan or filter. Clear plants and trash away from the immediate area around the unit. About 12 inches around each side should do.
- Change your AC’s filter.
- Schedule an inspection for the late spring to ensure that your AC will be in good shape for when you need it again.
- Inspect your refrigerant lines. Look for leaks, cracks, wear, and rust. Schedule an appointment with a professional if you see anything out of place.
- Cover your AC unit with a watertight cover that will help keep moisture and insects out during the winter.
Take Your Heater For A Test Run
Before you actually need to, you should consider firing up your furnace in order to see if it is still working properly and to identify any possible problems before the dead of winter sets in and your local HVAC crew is booked solid.
- Schedule a combustion efficiency test for your furnace system. This will tell you if your furnace is operating at an efficient level. It will tell you if you are spending too much money on running an inefficient furnace all the time in order to heat your home. It can also tell you if your furnace is putting out too many unburnt combustibles into your family’s home which can impact lung health.
- Install new reflective paneling between your furnace and the wall to help reduce heat loss.
- Check pipes and make sure they are properly insulated
- Change your furnace filter
- Check for any cracks or leaks around your furnace area and get them repaired as needed
Clean Out Your Dryer Vent And Ducts
The fall is the perfect time to inspect and clean out your dryer vent and outbound ducts. Dryer lint fires are a real problem in the US and can be easily avoided. Start by disconnecting your dryer and inspecting the dryer duct area around where it connects to the dryer. Clean out that area thoroughly and securely reattach it to your dryer. Make sure there is no condensation or mold as that could lead to bigger issues down the road. Next, go outside and inspect your dryer vent cover. Is it properly installed? Does it have excess debris or insect damage? Remove the vent and clean out any lint buildup around the area. You may also want to run a long cleaning brush through your entire duct if you notice a lot of lint buildup within the air ducts. Replace your vent and upgrade to a new vent if necessary.
While it may be pumpkin spice latte season it is also the perfect time to clean, inspect, and repair your home’s HVAC system which can save you time, money, and trouble down the road if you take the time to knock it out now. Good luck and stay warm out there!
Fall and Winter Fun Around Boise
Idaho has so much to offer at any given time of year and especially during the fall and winter months. In these different and ever-changing times of COVID, it is more important than ever to do things that bring us joy (and exercise!) while at the same time keeping a safe social distance from other people. This is why camping and outdoor recreation is more important and more popular than it has ever been! Whether you’re a first timer or a rugged outdoor veteran, now is the time to choose your own adventure in the beauty and safety of Idaho’s vast breathtaking wilderness. We’ve put together a quick list of some of the very best outdoor adventures you can do this year either by yourself or with the whole family. Enjoy!
Sneak Away For A Quick Camp Out
Did you know that there is an extremely nice and quiet campground just 45 minutes outside of Boise? The Grayback Gulch Campground is just south of Idaho City (also really nice) and offers about 15 individual spots for overnight camping. So, in the time it takes you to fight traffic to get to Caldwell, you could be in the fresh mountain air setting up a tent and breaking out the marshmallows next to a cozy fire. You can reserve online and spots start at just $18 per night.
Treat Yourself And Rent A Yurt
So, if you want to hit that sweet spot between rugged camping and outlandish glamping then a yurt is the way to go. What is a yurt, you ask? Well, the ones we’re talking about are fairly large cabin-like structures that typically can sleep 8 people comfortably and have a central wood fired stove. A yurt is a solid step up from a tent but less robust than a cabin. They are really fun if you want to bring the family or share with friends. Idaho is home to dozens of yurt rentals that start at just $120 per night. Check availability and reservations here.
Go To The Craters Of The Moon
The Craters of the Moon National Monument was famously called "the strangest 75 square miles on the North American Continent" by an early explorer, and they were not kidding. Here you can hike, camp, explore, and take pictures of the out of this world landscape. There are caves, trails, and even a large visitor’s center where you can learn more about the history and composition of this massive place. You really have to see it to believe it! More information here.
Go To Linder Farms
For a bunch of fun that is a little closer by, why not try Linder Farms? They have lots of great family friendly activities for the fall and all while successfully social distancing. You can pick pumpkins in their pumpkin patch or go on a family hayride in a horse drawn buggy. They also offer a hay bale maze for the kids and a large and fun corn maze for adults. More information and ticketing available here.
Indoor Family Adventures in the Treasure Valley
It’s still winter and the weather is either wet and cold, windy and cold, or just plain cold. Enjoying the great outdoors is a little less fun, especially if you’re not looking to get cold or wet while you do it. Since most of us in the Treasure Valley have been forced indoors this winter, let’s explore some fun family friendly activities that you can do all while staying in the warm embrace of the great indoors (except when you’re leaving from the car to the front door, we can’t help you there!)
Bounce Around Indoors
You can have a ton of fun indoors at Altitude, Boise’s best trampoline park. They offer kids and families a great place to spend time indoors this winter away from the freezing rain and snow. Since it’s more difficult to get your regular physical activity during the winter time, Altitude helps you and your kids stay active while having a blast indoors. They offer over 30,000 square feet of trampoline fun, but have so much more! They also have an aerial stunt bag, a warped wall obstacle (as seen on the popular American Ninja Warrior television program), an arcade-like “reaction wall” where you can test your skills on exciting games, and so much more! You and your kids will have a blast and be able to burn off that excess winter energy at the same time.
Winter Water Wonderland
What do lizards, sharks, and exotic birds all have in common? They’re all found at the beautiful Boise Aquarium! The Boise Aquarium has over 250 species of animals ranging from the desert dwelling reptiles to the sea fairing sponges of the deep. You and your kids can explore all of the exhibits either on their own (with your supervision, of course) or with a guided tour. You can purchase goodie bags of food and treats for the wildlife and can feed the fish and other animals treats as you visit them. Head over to the ray pool to get up close and personal with delightful and playful bat rays, diamond rays, and the enchanting California Butterfly Ray.
Board Games To Try And Buy!
You’ve heard of a family board game night, but what about a family board game night on a large scale in a fun environment? Take the family to a local game shop like All About Games on Overland or ABU Games off of Cole road near the Aquarium and enjoy a board game night like no other. Both stores have tons of room to set up and play (and they also offer great snacks and treats if you’re hungry) but at All About Games, you can also rent a board game from their selection of over 100+ unique games for rent. Ever wanted to try “Ticket to Ride” or “7 Wonders” or “Forbidden Island”, but never wanted to shell out the $$ to buy them before trying them for yourself? Well now you can rent all of those and more for only $3 for a night or $8 for a whole week. Plus, every Tuesday night is the store’s special in-house board game night from 5pm to 11pm every week. Come on by and check it out and try something new and fun for the whole family.
Quick Getaways Close to Home
Sometimes you just want to escape close to home but still feel like you’ve gotten away without having to drive too far. Here are a few quick two-day getaway ideas that may have you packing your bags and saying yes to a mini-vacay! Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Baker City, Oregon
Baker City is only a short two-hour drive from Boise. One particular attraction is the old Geiser Grand Hotel built back in 1889. Visit the hotel’s website as they have different events going on throughout the year.
There are a lot of different attractions to see in and around Baker City. If you like the mountains, head to Anthony Lakes, a short 30 minute drive away, where you can experience outdoor recreation and hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Visit the Baker Heritage Museum or the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a 23,000 square foot interpretive center about the Oregon Trail. If you are feeling adventurous drive southwest on Highway 7 just a little further (23 miles) to the McEwen Depot and take a ride on the Sumpter Steam Train.
If you enjoy wine tasting stop by the Copper Belt Winery, a small family-run winery in Baker City. Or you may even be interested in stopping by Glacier 45 distillery to sample some kosher and gluten free vodka.
Hagerman is only about an hour and forty minute drive from Boise. Plan your next trip so you can explore the beautiful area of Hagerman. There are several things to see and do around this area. You can visit the Hagerman Fossil Beds, or enjoy the snake river with 1000 Springs Tours. The company offers scenic tours as well as lunch and dinner cruises.
You may also be interested in checking out the Thousand Springs Winery and stay at the Bed and Breakfast. While in the area, you can also check out Miracle Hot Springs, a unique campground comprised of yurt-like geometric domes for sleeping. Enjoy the public or private hot pools while you are there. A beautiful, relaxing trip less than 2 hours from Boise!
Idaho City, Idaho
Less than an hour from Boise you can enjoy taking a quick walk or drive through the old mining town of Idaho City. Stop and have breakfast and lunch at one of the cafes or even visit the delicious Ice Cream Shop. Then escape and check yourself into The Springs-Hot Springs Retreat. Here you’ll enjoy the day or evening soaking in the pool, which is cooled down for summer or hot for the winter. You can also take advantage of massage and bodywork services offered by the resort, so you truly feel like you’ve gotten away. Once you’ve soaked your cares away, stay at Inn The Pines. The Inn offers seven brand new rooms just down the road from the hot springs.
Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho
Head on over to Glenn's Ferry and stay, play, eat, and drink at Crossing’s Winery. This getaway is a short hour and ten-minute drive from Boise. If you enjoy golf, book a tee time to play on their 9 hole course. While in the area check out Three Island State Park and the Oregon Trail Educational Center to learn more about the region in earlier days.