It might still feel warm and summery outside, but every summer eventually gives way to chilly fall breezes and then frigid winter temperatures. Whether you're part of the crowd which mourns the passing of summer or grouped with those who rejoice at the thought of snow, you're sure to agree that a warm and cozy home is vital to getting through the winter.
Even if it isn't frigid yet, now is the time to prepare your home to withstand the cold. Here are the steps you should take to make sure this winter is a cozy one.
Winterize Your Windows
Once frigid temperatures hit it's important to have windows which will keep the cold out. Install double paned or storm windows if you have them. The extra pocket of air will help to insulate your windows so that they aren't constantly making your home feel cold.
Check around the edges of the windows to make sure that no cold air is seeping inside your house. You can use a candle to help in finding drafts, and then seal the cracks up so that your house stays toasty warm.
Check Your Insulation
Heating your home will be more easier and far more inexpensive if you have a proper amount of insulation in your home. If you don't, the warm air gradually rises into your attic and escapes from your home. Measure your insulation levels to make sure you have a proper amount for your home's needs.
Protect Your Pipes
During cold weather, exposed pipes can easily freeze and burst, resulting in a loss of water and the need for a lot of repair work. Rather than risk being without hot water in the middle of winter, now is the time to make certain that your pipes are safe from any freezing temperatures.
Look around your garage and under your house to find any exposed pipes which are at risk of freezing. Once you've located them, wrap them in a protective material. There are several different options available for this step, so you can choose the one that will work best for you. Heating tape uses electricity to warm your pipes to a desired temperature. There are also simple insulating options such as pipe wrap or foam insulation.
Protect Against Carbon Monoxide
While it's important to seal your home to keep out the chilly drafts and cold air, it's also important to make sure that you don't end up trapping carbon monoxide inside of your house. Breathing carbon monoxide can make you feel like you have the flu, make you pass out, and even kill you.
In order to prevent carbon monoxide build up in your house, make sure your gas appliances are properly vented. Have your water heater and furnace serviced regularly by a qualified repairman. If you have a chimney, make sure it's cleaned out regularly.
Even if you're careful to follow all of these steps there is always a risk of carbon monoxide when you're burning or heating anything. For this reason everyone should have a CO detector installed in their home. If you already have one in your house, now is a good time to double check the batteries and replace them if needed.
Update the Thermostat
If your home has an old thermostat installed, consider switching to a new one. This will ensure that your home is heated more accurately, and it will also give you more control over the temperature. New programmable thermostats allow you to schedule your desired temperature, so you can set it to automatically cool down during the night when you're snuggled in bed and then warm up before you have to get up in the morning.
Give Your Furnace a Check-Up
Many people wait until they notice a problem with their furnace before calling for professional help to come and fix it. When the problem occurs, they'll likely end up paying higher heating bills because of it. They'll probably end up with an unheated or poorly heated house for the amount of time it takes to find and schedules a repair, and that's simply not fun for anyone.
Avoid these problems now by simply scheduling a routine maintenance for your heater. Call us today and we'll send out an HVAC technician to to check your furnace for any potential problems. We can clean it out and tune up anything that's slightly out of order. You can also get your filters replaced and ask for your thermostat to be recalibrated.
If you don't know how to clean out or change your air filter, ask the technician to show you how. Air filters should generally be cleaned or replaced once a month or so during the heating season so that they don't get clogged.
Need a New Furnace?
If your furnace is getting old, isn't working well, or needs repairs that are going to cost more than the furnace is worth then it's probably time to get a new one. While it may be tempting to avoid the purchase, you'll probably regret it once cold weather sets in. Take care of the problem now so that you don't have to deal with a lack of heat or massive bills later.