RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Staying warm during cold weather days is key, and there several important things residents should do to keep their homes in working order when the thermometer drops.

The last thing anyone wants is for their heating to break and this time of year, it is especially important for homeowners and renters.

Woodfin field supervisor Travis Litchford knows how hectic the job can get during the winter.

“December through February is very busy,” he told 8News. “We kind of tend to expect to be busy.”

And that’s because of the increase in heat pumps needing to be repaired.

“Heat pumps struggle when it’s less than 30 degrees outside,” Litchford said. “Just not a lot of heat in the air for them to absorb, so they rely on their auxiliary heat.”

As temperatures drop well below freezing in Central Virginia, units are working overtime, and a frozen heat pump is the last thing anyone needs.

8News caught up with Litchford at a home Tuesday afternoon where he was performing a routine check-up, making sure nothing was going to go wrong for one homeowner.

“What I’m doing is checking the defrost cycle because if it’s not working properly, this whole thing will freeze up and turn into a block of ice and it won’t work properly for the customer,” Litchford said.

If your heat pump isn’t able to defrost, then you can forget setting your thermostat.

So, what are some things you can do in order to stay nice and cozy over the season?

“The most important thing a homeowner can do is make sure their air filters are clean. Keep proper maintenance on their equipment. Get it checked out yearly,” Litchford said. “Keep their system running up to par. Make sure the refrigerant is where it’s supposed to be, coils are clean, just normal maintenance procedures.”

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