The leaves are falling, the air is turning crisp and pumpkins are starting to appear on your neighbors' doorsteps. If you've stocked up on your end-of-harvest apples and started prepping your kids' Halloween costumes, you're certainly ready for fall. But is your home?

In Baltimore, switching from summer to fall means turning off the air conditioner and turning on the heater. Hopefully, your energy bills go down during the fall and winter since your A/C isn't causing your electric bill to balloon. But just because your furnace costs less to run than your air conditioner doesn't mean you shouldn't work to make it as eco-friendly as possible.

There's no better time than the start of the season to ensure your furnace is as eco-friendly and energy efficient as possible. Keep reading for tips on how to make your heater greener than ever while the leaves outside turn red, yellow and orange.  

Deal With Dust

Before you turn the furnace on for the first time, head down to the basement to give it a once-over with a rag. Otherwise, the dust will billow through the house when the heater kicks on for the first time, eventually cycling back to the furnace filter.

The dirtier your filter, the less efficient your heater, so make sure you change the filter at the start of the season and every three months after that for maximum furnace efficiency.

Clear Out the Space

Most furnaces are down in the basement—which, incidentally, is the place many homeowners store holiday decorations and winter clothes. Don't turn on the heater without removing any odds and ends you stored in the space, especially flammable items like wreaths or soft flannel. It's still fall, so you may not need these items quite yet, but you definitely need to remove them from your heater's vicinity.

Schedule Your Seasonal Tune-Up

Cleaning the outside of your furnace is pretty straightforward, but the inner workings are another matter entirely. Most people can relight a pilot light or clean off heating coils, but furnaces are complicated pieces of equipment, and there's no substitute for a professional appliance tune-up before winter rolls in.

Get ahead of the curve by scheduling your season furnace tune-up in the fall rather than waiting for the winter when HVAC technicians' schedules fill up. The faster you tune up your furnace, the more prepared you'll be for the colder weather, and the more money you'll save by ensuring your furnace is running as efficiently as possible.  

Switch Systems Before Winter Hits

Tired of dealing with your old gas furnace? It might be time to upgrade your system. You can always invest in a new gas or electric furnace, but if you want to make a major, longer-lasting change, consider switching over to a heat pump before the winter hits.

Instead of expending energy to heat the air, heat pumps work by simply moving outdoor heat indoors in the winter, and indoor heat outdoors in the summer. Heat pumps get their energy from air, water or the earth, depending on the type of heat pump you invest in.

Upgrading your system in the fall gives you the time you need to get to know your new heat pump and ensure it works properly so you're not left out in the cold during the first major winter snowstorm. Plus, it's much easier to assess your home and install a new system before the cold winter winds make it harder for HVAC installation experts to do their jobs.

Talk to a Professional

Whether you want to get rid of your old gas furnace and make your home heat pump-ready or you want to schedule a fall tune-up, Metro Mechanical Services is here to help. Contact us for seasonal help and energy-efficient upgrades, and don't forget to check out our blog for more HVAC tips and tricks.