10 ways to get your home ready for winter
While you may not want to think about it now, the cold weather will arrive sooner than you realize. This is why you may want to call an HVAC repair expert to come and look at your heating system now - after all, who wants to discover something is wrong when it's freezing out? In the meantime, here are some additional ways to make sure your home is ready for winter.
1. Seal it up
Even if you have the most effective HVAC system money can buy, your home will still feel cold if cracks allow heat to escape and cold air to come in. If you have an older house, the chance of cracks being present is high, which means you'll need to find and seal them before you lose the heat you're paying for. To uncover problematic areas, close all your windows and doors and walk around with a candle. If it flickers around one of these spots, it may be the source of your leak.
2. Inspect your chimney
If you love to light a warm fire in your chimney on a cold winter night, you'll want to make sure to have it inspected long before winter arrives. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned every year if they're used often.
3. Check your trees
Are there any large, old trees close to your home? If so, you may want to have those inspected as well to make sure you won't have to eventually deal with a large branch through your window. This could happen if snow or ice causes the branch to double or triple in weight.
4. Head to the attic
One of the main places where heat can escape in your home is through the attic, so have the insulation checked to see if it's up to par for the upcoming season. The general rule of thumb on attic insulation is that if you can see the rafters, you'll need more insulation. Over time fiberglass insulation breaks down and can compact. When insulation compacts, the R value (or insulation value) drastically decreases.
5. Consider the age of your HVAC system
If you have an HVAC system that's older than 10 years, you should consider replacing it. A new system could cut back on your heating costs and help keep your home warmer than your current system. The new 410a system is also more environmentally friendly.
6. Stock up
If you live in an area where major storms are an issue, consider purchasing some emergency supplies in case of a blizzard. This includes canned food, flashlights, a first aid kit and batteries. One gallon of water can also save a family of four in an emergency situation.
7. Fix the roof
Is there a problem with your roof that you've been putting off taking care of? If so, now is the time to fix it. When winter arrives, it may be too dangerous to get a contractor to get up there and address the problem.
8. Check your detectors
Between fires in the chimney and that fancy Thanksgiving dinner you may be cooking, you'll want to make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in case any fire-related emergency occurs throughout the winter. Remember - carbon monoxide has no smell and has only a few side effects that most people dismiss until it's too late, such as headaches, nausea, and sleepiness. Install a carbon monoxide detector in every room! We tend to use more heat at night, which means the amount of carbon monoxide your system creates is increased. Since it has no smell you will not wake up because you will not notice anything. Carbon monoxide is also heavier than air, so get a detector that plugs into the wall and place it low, not high like a smoke detector.
9. Get some blankets
You probably will want to make sure you have plenty of warm blankets around your home throughout the colder season. Not only are blankets cozy, but if you can get your family to use them often then you may be able keep your thermostat low and save yourself some cash.
10. Call a heating and cooling professional
While it was mentioned above, the importance of having your heating system serviced before winter cannot be stressed enough. HVAC specialists often get slammed with calls in the colder months, so you'll want any problems to be fixed now, not later.