Indoor Air Quality
Hosting a Christmas Party This Year? No Sweat!
Preparing for a Christmas party can be a stressful event: there’s food to buy, invitations to send, decorations to set up, and music playlists to plan. One thing homeowners often miss in all this planning is whether or not their HVAC system is up to the task of heating a home full of people. No need to worry, however. If you’ve had your HVAC system maintained in the last year (or this fall, if you have a heat pump) then you’re likely in good shape.
But no matter how well your system is maintained, it’s designed to handle the comfort needs of the small number of occupants that are typically present in a home at one time. Our guess is that if you’re hosting a Christmas party, the number of attendants in your home at one time is going to far exceed the average amount of occupants. So, what can you do to fully prepare your HVAC system for your Christmas party?
Take Care of Any Repair Needs
If during your last maintenance visit, your HVAC technician informed you of repair needs—now is the time to get them taken care of. This way you can ensure that your system is in good shape and won’t breakdown during the strain it may undergo this holiday season. This is true no matter what type of heating system you may have.
Turn Your System on Early Before the Party
A few hours before your first guests are to arrive, turn your system on if it’s not already on. Set it about 5 degrees or more lower than what you find comfortable. You may be a bit chilly for a while, but once more guests come in, you’ll quickly notice the temperature rise.
Using a dehumidifier is another good idea if your Christmas party is during a particularly stuffy week. High humidity is actually a pretty uncomfortable side effect of many large parties, since each person’s exhalations raise moisture levels. If you don’t have a professionally installed dehumidifier, then you can simply run your AC for a couple days before the party to rid your home of at least some excess moisture.
The most important thing to remember about hosting a Christmas party is to have fun. No matter what little glitches may arise, avoiding stress is as easy as being prepared and remembering what the holiday season is all about—friends, family, and food!
What to Do If Your Heater Leaves Your Holiday Guests Feeling Cold
Modern heating systems have only gotten more and more effective over the years. Like any other mechanical system, however, any heater can run into operational problems from time to time. Some times are more convenient than others, of course. When you have guests arriving at your home later in the day, and your heater just failed, "convenient" is probably not the word that you’d use to describe the situation.
Fortunately for you, heating technicians are available even around the holiday season. Homeowners cannot simply be expected to put up with cold temperatures in their homes until regular business hours resume once more. Before you go scheduling emergency heating services, though, there are a few things to check on your own.
Using a Heat Pump? Is It in Heating Mode?
First of all, make sure that your heat pump is actually in heating mode. Because heat pumps both heat and cool homes, it is possible that your system was just accidentally switched over to the cooling mode. If this is the case, the flip of a switch is all that is necessary to get your heater back to blowing warm air to keep your guests comfortable.
Did You Double Check Temperature Settings?
No matter what type of heater you use, it is controlled by a thermostat. This may sound obvious, but you should always double check to make sure that your thermostat is set properly and that the system is actually in heating mode, rather than a "fan–only" mode. Radiant heating systems don’t use fans, but you may have accidentally set the thermostat too low, so you are not feeling the desired effects from its operation.
What About Temperature Zones?
If your heater is zoned—meaning that you can heat different areas of your home to different temperatures—check each zone to ensure that comfortable temperatures are set. It can be easy to miss changes in temperatures throughout the house when you are stuck in a hot kitchen all day. You may be nice and toasty, but any guests waiting for dinner to be served may be a good deal chillier in the den.
Some Problems Will Demand Professional Attention
These are definitely best case scenarios, and there is no guarantee that the issue you’re facing with your heater is quite this simple. If you cannot find an obvious cause of the problem, then contact your heating technicians right away. While you focus on getting your guests squared away and dinner on the table, they can focus on returning your heater to proper operating condition before the winter holidays start feeling too wintery in your home.
We hope that these tips will help you to deal with any heating issues that you may encounter this holiday season. Consider this last one a gift from us to you. Schedule routine heating maintenance before the guests start to arrive. This is not the season for testing your luck when it comes to the operation of your heater.