North Carolina recently had its first taste of cooler temperatures. While true winter is at least several weeks away, now is the time to take care of some household winter maintenance. Not everyone loves to tackle these to-dos, but managing them will protect the longevity of your home and make it more comfortable.
- Clean Gutters – Even if you have gutter covers, you might want to climb up there and look. People often dislike cleaning gutters, but clear gutters improve drainage. Poor water drainage over time can hurt your home’s foundation and flood your basement or crawlspace. Obviously, fall brings with it lots of leaves, sticks, pine needles, and pinecones, so choose a day after most of these things has fallen.
- Secure Outdoor Lighting Fixtures – How’s your lighting? If you don’t spend much time outside, you might not realize the last hurricane damaged a bulb or that one is blinking erratically. Lighting is nice when the days grow short, whether you’re sitting outside by a fire or just taking out the trash. Plus, it may save you from a fall on an icy sidewalk.
- Examine the HVAC System – Naturally, we think this one is critical. But who wants to live without heat? Not only is it dangerous, but a broken heater will lead to other problems, such as frozen pipes. Keep your house comfortable and safe by checking on the furnace. Some furnaces have filters; change yours. Also, clear any dirt and debris from around the unit.
- Reverse the Ceiling Fans – The direction your ceiling fans spin can make all the difference in making you feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Flip the switch, so your fans operate clockwise, which will push warm air downward. Doing so is critical for homes with high ceilings; it may allow you to turn your heat down a notch or two to save money. (While you’re up there, dust the fan blades so your indoor air quality remains high.)
- Test your Smoke Detectors – Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no smoke alarms that were working. (Source – NFPA.) In the colder months, people are more likely to cook indoors, light candles, add extra holiday lights, and more. Make sure each smoke detector is ready to go.
- Inspect Doors and Windows – If your house feels chilly even with the heat running, take a look at the doors and windows. Broken seals and leaks will cause your heater to run more often, costing you more money and leaving you feeling cold all the time. Add weatherstripping and draft stoppers. The Department of Energy has a useful map of common leaky spots in a home and info on how to choose weatherstripping.
- Turn off Outside Faucets – Check the garden hose or outdoor water system for your lawn. You don’t want those to freeze. Coil up the hose and disconnect it from the spigot.
- Close Your Crawl Space Vents – If your home’s foundation is a crawlspace, you have vents around the outside of your house. In the summer, those keep some air flowing through the space. In the winter, close those up to keep it warmer.
Not sure you’re ready for winter? Give us a call to check out your HVAC today.