Winterize: How To Prepare Your Home For Winter
by Rich Gray
As the days get shorter, your to-do list just seems to get longer. One of the big things on it is getting your house ready for winter. Winterizing your home can not only make you more comfortable this winter, it can also save you a considerable amount of money on energy costs. Taking proper care of your home now can protect you from some of the damage that winter can inflict on it. It also will make your homestead a lot safer for your family.
Winterizing may seem to be a daunting task, but getting your house ready for winter should really only take you a weekend, if that. Plan it out right and you can winterize and still manage to get in some fall fun. Use the following guide to make sure that you’re ready for winter, both inside and out.
Your furnace. Start your winterizing efforts at the top: with your furnace. Before you even turn your furnace on for the season, you should get it cleaned and tuned by a HVAC professional. While this will probably run you a good $100 at least, it is well worth the money spent both in energy savings over the course of the winter (as your furnace runs more efficiently) and in terms of safety.
After the professional gets done cleaning it, make sure you move any flammable items far away from the furnace itself (for obvious reasons). If your system is forced hot water – as opposed to air – bleed the valves to remove any air from the system. To do this, locate the valves and open them slightly until water appears, then close them. If you don’t know where the valves are, ask the HVAC pro before he or she heads out.
Look into a programmable thermostat for your furnace. This can save you a ton of money over manually turning the temperature up and down, and can greatly increase your comfort level as well. Finally, stock up on furnace filters, if applicable. Filters can get blocked, which cuts down on the amount of air reaching your furnace, negatively affecting its efficiency. It can even get to the point where a blocked filter can start a fire. Buy filters in bulk to save money, and change them out monthly, or as needed.
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