During the holidays, you can’t match the feeling of stepping out of the cold and into a loved one’s home. Now that the summer BBQs are over, it’s time to prepare your house for your fall and winter guests. Tune up your home heating systems with furnace maintenance and prepare the your rooms and fixtures […]

During the holidays, you can’t match the feeling of stepping out of the cold and into a loved one’s home. Now that the summer BBQs are over, it’s time to prepare your house for your fall and winter guests. Tune up your home heating systems with furnace maintenance and prepare the your rooms and fixtures for the upcoming chilly weather before a cold front hits.

Home Maintenance Tips

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan – Hot air rises. When you want to keep a house warm, reverse the way the blades turn on your ceiling fan. Have the blades turn in a clockwise motion to create 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.
Seal the Cracks Around Doors and Windows – Gaps wider than the edge of a nickel along window and door frames let 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, and use window-glazing putty if you need to seal the glass to the window frame.

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.
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.
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.
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 with the help of a heating and air conditioning contractor. The furnace maintenance process involves:

Inspecting the Furnace and Heat Pump – The technician will ensure the components are clean, in good repair and do not leak carbon monoxide into the home.
Inspecting the Gas and/or Oil Connections – Connections that don’t work properly can cause health problems and are a fire hazard.
Inspecting 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.
Inspecting 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.

Verifying 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 that a furnace may work inefficiently 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. The holiday months are the peak season for some contractors, and you don’t want to get stuck at the bottom of a list of 50 other homeowners who have the same emergency as you. Take action now to protect your investment so the only things you have to worry about are the baked goods in your oven for your guests.

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