When winter weather hits, you want to be cozy and warm inside, safe from the wind and cold! One way to ensure that you are is to prepare your home for those frosty months. Avoid any surprises on that first cold night by prepping your heating system before winter arrives.
Here are the 7 steps you can take to get ready for winter:
1. Get your heating system inspected by an HVAC professional annually. Manufacturers say their furnaces will last longer with regular maintenance. And HVAC techs say most service calls that they get for no heat are connected to a lack of routine maintenance. During an inspection, the technician will perform several tasks. Among these, they may:
— Detect leaks and rotting
— Clean the heating system
— Make sure controls work
— Discover carbon monoxide leaks
Follow your HVAC technician’s advice for additional steps to prepare for winter. If you are more the do-it-yourselfer type, there are several more tasks to take care of and issues to look out for.
2. Clear the space around your furnace. Make sure that if anything has been set near or on the furnace during warmer months, you remove it. Get rid of any fire hazards near the furnace.
3. Make sure the pilot is lit, if you have one.
4. Test your heat and thermostat. When you switch on the heat, you should hear it kick on right away. Change the battery backup in the thermostat so you know it’ll run all winter.
5. Consider buying a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. This can help you lower heating costs by setting the heat and temperatures to be most efficient, based on when people are home.
6. Seal leaks. Whether you or the HVAC technician detects leaks, get them fixed to heat your home more efficiently. Leaks are common around windows, doors, pipes, electrical outlets and pull-down attic stairs. These can usually be sealed with caulking or weather stripping.
7. Change your furnace filter. Energy Saver, part of the federal Energy Department, recommends that you change furnace filters monthly during the winter months.
Bonus tips to keep your home warm during the winter:
· Check insulation levels. Make sure your home has adequate insulation in the attic, ceiling, walls, and crawl spaces. It’s helpful to insulate your water heater and pipes too, to reduce heat loss.
· Clean and uncover vents. Whether your heat is forced air, hot water, baseboard or radiator, it’s important to make sure they aren’t covered by drapes, furniture or other items.
If you are interested in these heat-saving strategies and want to learn more about how you can help others stay comfortable all winter, you might want to become that HVAC technician homeowners call. Learn about Charter College’s Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Training program to find out more about how that can become your career.