Winterizing your home for the cold
August 25, 2017
Winter is right around the corner and it’s time to start protecting your home from the elements and protecting your bank account from unnecessary costs. Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric is here to help you with all your home repair needs, but what if we could help you prevent some of those needs? Here are some winterizing tips you can do yourself or by one of our certified technicians.
Note: Make sure the winterizing is conducted during the fall and prior to winter storms.
- Proper function of the furnace is important for the greatest efficiency. Here are some things to look out for:
- Make sure your furnace gets sufficient air for proper operation. Your furnace should have combustion air vents between your furnace room and the outside of your home. A technician can evaluate your system and ensure you have appropriate venting.
- Check your gas burners and pay note to the color of the flame. The flame should be blue, while orange and red streaks inside the blue flame can be normal. A yellow flame means the burner is dirty and is not getting enough air. You should call a professional for repairs in this case.
- The area around your furnace should be kept clear of combustible material such as paper, cardboard or paint cans. The furnace burns especially hot during the winter.
- Keep informed of the danger signals for unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide. Remember: the best way to prevent CO poisoning in the first place is with an annual inspection of your fuel-burning appliances.
- It is recommended that prior to the winter season you call a certified technician to service your furnace.
Some filters need to be changed monthly, while others can last six months or longer. With winter approaching, you should check the state of the filter. If you see dark gray/black grit or excess debris then it’s time to change the filter.
A clean and serviceable filter will allow air to pass freely through the filter. It will also prevent the furnace from getting clogged with dirt/debris. Clean filters mean lower energy bills and extended furnace life.
Install a programmable thermostat
This can be an excellent energy saver. Set temperatures for day, evening, when you leave the house and at night. You won’t need the house at 76 degrees the entire winter. Managing your temperature can reduce the amount of energy you’ll be using and increase the money you’ll save. Using a programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different times whether you’re home or not. Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric’s programmable thermostats can even remind you when it is time to schedule maintenance for your heating system.
Flush water heater
Water heaters accumulate dirt, debris and sediment at the bottom. Sediment creates a barrier between the flames at the bottom and the water in the tank. Flushing the water out of the system will purge the sediment, but don’t worry, your water heater will refill itself. It is recommended that you inspect and flush your water heater yearly.
Check for drafts
Energy leaks can be one of the biggest reasons for a high energy bill. Checking the entire house for drafts. Plugging them will reduce your money going out the window, so to speak! The following are ways to combat drafts and keep the cold air outside.
- Draft guards – Creates a seal at the base of a door. They can be bought at any local hardware store. Also called a door draft stopper, draft dodger or door pillow. Use these guards to block main entryways and unused rooms.
- Window insulation film – plastic film which can be applied to glass windows to reduce heat transfer. Keeping the heat in your home and cold air outside is essential. The film helps with this and also minimizes condensation.
- Window/Door seals – Break out the caulk gun and fix seals around windows and doors. Seals erode over time and will create cracks and holes. Re-seal the windows and doors.
Clean gutters are less about saving energy and more about saving money on potential problems. Cleaning the gutters prior to winter will free them of debris and allow water to freely flow through the gutters to the ground. The more debris, the less flow. Less flow equals a buildup of water and icicles due to overfilling and water going over the gutters instead of through them.
These are just a few ways you can protect your pocketbook from extra expenditures and be prepared for the winter months ahead. For more tips and recommendations call the professionals at Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric.