While it is easy for you to throw on a coat, scarf and gloves when winter weather blows through, your home requires a different kind of dressing. Preparing your home for the drop in temperature and rise in snow levels starts in fall, not winter.
These five easy ways to bolster your home for this blustery season will prevent you and your budget from falling below zero.
Tune up the furnace
Remember, ensuring you have heat when you need it starts before temperatures turn chilly. Today is the day to assess the health of your furnace. Here are some things you can do before scheduling your visit from a HVAC professional:
- Do a test run. Make sure your thermostat is working and that your furnace is heating rooms accurately and evenly. Don’t be afraid of an initial odor when you turn on your heater. Your unused furnace has collected some dust that it needs to burn away. The smell should dissipate after a few minutes. If it lingers, a professional inspection is in order.
- Install a new furnace filter. After some time of minimal HVAC activity, it’s easy to forget to change the filter. Start the heating season off right by replacing yours if it’s dirty and clogged.
- Give your furnace space. Your furnace poses a fire hazard if you have anything flammable propped up against it. Give your furnace room to do its job by freeing the space around it of any debris.
- Call your local HVAC provider to schedule a furnace tune-up. Indianapolis residents can take advantage of One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning’s special offer of a $79 furnace tune-up (discounted from $119), which can be scheduled by calling 317-759-9898 or by visiting onehourairindy.com.
Annual tune-ups add years to the life of your furnace. A winter tune-up will help ensure you are ready for the season and find any issues that could lead to costly repairs in the future.
Test carbon monoxide detectors
Once your furnace is warmed up and ready for the season ahead, it’s time to test your carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that poisons people when appliances, including the furnace, fireplace and water heater malfunction. Cracked furnace heat exchangers are a common cause of leaks.
In a six-year period, more than 2,000 people died from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, mostly during winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Avoid tragedy by installing at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, and testing them monthly.
Cold air doesn't have good manners. It will barge in without asking, if you leave an opening for it.
Seal out this uninvited guest by adding or replacing weatherstripping around doors and windows, and caulking any gaps. If doorstops are worn, replace them. Seal your air ducts, indoors and out — if any pipes or ducts travel through an exterior wall, use caulking and weatherstripping around all entry points.
These small steps to prevent air leaks will provide large savings on your heating bill.
Inspect and clean the chimney and fireplace
Wood-burning fireplaces get a buildup of creosote in the chimney. Protect your home by having the chimney checked and cleaned, if necessary. Close the damper when not in use.
Schedule your chimney and fireplace assessments before you need to use your fireplace. Many technicians will be booked as the temperatures get chilly.
Winterizing your home also means giving attention to trees and shrubs. Tree limbs weighed down with snow can fall onto power lines or through windows if they suddenly break. If you live in an area that experiences ice storms, the added weight of ice buildup can also cause branches to come down.
Save money with a steady thermostat
Set your thermostat to your desired temperature when you are home and when you are out. As your family acclimates to wintry weather, lower the temperature by one degree each week. This can reduce your home energy bill by 1 percent per degree, according to energy.gov.
Winterizing saves you money and makes your home toasty and cozy. If you need expert assistance or are overdue for a furnace tuneup, contact Indianapolis One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning with any questions and to make an appointment.