During the holidays, you can’t match the feeling of stepping out of the cold and into a loved one’s home. Keep your guests warm by preparing your rooms and fixtures for the colder weather, and performing necessary maintenance on your furnace.
Home Maintenance Tips
A few maintenance tips that easily create comfort and cost savings.
1. Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
Hot air rises, having the blades turn in a clockwise motion creates an upward draft that forces the warmer air near the ceiling down into the living space. This trick has also been known to cut heating costs by up to 10 percent.
2. Seal the Cracks Around Doors and Windows
Gaps along window and door frames that are wider than the edge of a nickel let the warm air escape from your home. Replace the weather-stripping around doors and windows as needed. If necessary, seal the exterior of windows and doors with silicone caulk. You'll need to use window-glazing putty if you need to seal the glass to the window frame.
3. Inspect Your Roof
Hire a roofing contractor to inspect your roof for shingles that are damaged, missing, or loose. The roofer should also inspect the flashing shield around chimneys and vent stacks.
4. Clean or Change Your Air Filter
You use your home heating system the most during the fall and winter. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, clean and change the air filter to reduce the amount of dust in your home, improve its air quality, and reduce energy costs.
5. Inspect Your Attic
If your home gets lots of icicles or ice dams during the winter, this may be due to poor insulation in your home’s attic. Have a weatherization or home-energy auditor inspect your attic for air leaks.
6. Clean Your Chimney
A dirty chimney is a health and fire hazard. Before the cold weather hits, hire a sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America to inspect and, if necessary, clean your chimney.
Furnace Maintenance Tips
Just as you would maintain your chimney and start the holiday season with clean air filters, it’s equally important to inspect your home heating systems. Enlist the help of a heating and air conditioning contractor that’s a member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program. This is what the furnace maintenance process involves:
1. Inspect the Furnace and Heat Pump
The technician will ensure the components are clean, in good repair, and don't leak carbon monoxide into the home.
2. Inspect the Gas/Oil Connections
Connections that don’t work properly can cause health problems and are a fire hazard.
3. Inspect the Electrical System
When electrical connections are tight, they promote the safe operation of your heating system. A technician will also make sure the system starts, operates and shuts down properly, and verify that the thermostat works well.
4. Inspect the Heat Exchanger, Gas Pressure, and Burner Combustion
When such elements are dirty or cracked, your system operates less efficiently and poses a safety hazard.
5. Verify the Furnace Achieves Its Manufacturer-Rated Efficiency
If a furnace doesn’t work as efficiently as it should, you may be spending more money than necessary to heat your home. Reasons for this can include its age or a component that’s in need of repair or cleaning.
Don’t wait until the weather gets cold to maintain your home and furnace because the holiday months are the peak season for some contractors. Take action now so the only things you have to worry about are the baked goods in your oven for your guests.