Fall is the the best time to start winterizing your home before you find yourself with problems to fix in the middle of -20 weather. Whether you choose to have a professional handle these items or if you are the do it yourself type of person, here’s a list of things you should consider addressing before winter.
Furnace Cleaning: A dirty furnace is less efficient and more likely to have mechanical issues. Have your furnace inspected and cleaned every 2 years (rather than 1) based on feedback from a HVAC Cleaning specialist. If you are in need of a recommendation, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to refer you to a quality company.
Change Air Filter: For healthy, indoor air, change your air filter once every 4 to 6 weeks, and we recommend the less expensive filters as they allow more airflow which increases the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Vacuum Heating Vents: Take off the covers and hoses to your dryer, bathroom and stove vents and suction out lint and debris. This will increase efficiency and decrease fire hazards.
Winterizing your A/C: It is best practice to cover your A/C in the winter season to prevent excess dirt, debris and mold from building up in the A/C unit and to extend the longevity of the A/C. As a fail-safe measure to protect yourself from turning on your A/C via your thermostat with the cover still on, we recommend removing or flipping the breaker on the exterior of the home beside the A/C.
Replace Batteries in Detectors: October is Fire Awareness Month so use it as a reminder to replace batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and other safety instruments.
Attic Insulation: A quick way to see if your have enough insulation on the floor of your attic is to simply look across the floor of your attic. If the insulation is level with or below your floor joists, more insulation is needed. There should be no low spots. Be sure not to cover any recessed light fixtures or soffit vents. Keep at least 3” away from lights (unless insulated ceiling rated). About 10-14” thick insulation or R -38 insulation is recommended.
Weatherstripping: Inspect the weather stripping around your doors to ensure it is in and as a good fit. There are generally one of three types: metal, foam plastic or plastic stripping. Check the metal for dents, bends and straightness. Check foam plastic for resiliency, and plastic stripping for brittleness and cracks. Make sure it is securely held in place. Proper weather stripping is very helpful to prevent cold drafts, energy loss and other issues. If you are having condensation build-up on the interior of your windows this may mean that you have your humidity level too high, it should be between 30-40%. It also may mean that you are not getting adequate air flow. Be sure to frequently open your blinds throughout your home to allow airflow in there areas to prevent excess moisture and prevent mold growth.
Water Heater: Drain this annually to help prevent any build up of scale inside the heater.
Drain Outside Faucets: Water pipes can freeze, swell and burst in the winter months, causing significant damage. Turn the external shut valve off and open the faucet until the drip stops. And if you can find a place for your hoses indoors then bring them in to extend their life expectancy.
Downspouts: Use a ladder, gloves and a garbage bag to remove debris from the past year. Run water from a hose through the downspouts to ensure they are unclogged. Ensure downspouts are down and have extensions to discharge the water away from the foundation of your home.
Install Gutter Guards: Gutter guards are a good idea to minimize the amount of debris accumulated, but you’ll still need to check for clogs once a year in the fall.
Lawn Equipment: Run all gas powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone. Sitting inside your machine over the winter can cause avoidable wear/tear and cause fire hazards.
Seal Foundation: Repair and seal holes with a quality caulking material. Small cracks and holes in foundations are inevitable and can potentially lead to further damage if left untreated.
Inspect Roof Shingles: Shingles protect everything in the home so don’t overlook it. Also, include the metal flashing at all the roof joints to look for signs of leaking, rotting or damage.