Winter officially begins, December 21st through March 20th. With all the holiday preparations going on in, you can easily forget to do a few, of those chores around the house that help to keep it insulated against the coming cold weather. But while you’re decking the halls and stringing up lighting, you might want to check this awesome handy pre-winter checklist, to make sure your home’s heating system are prepared for Old Man Winter’s visit this month.
- Maybe the most important thing to do in order to make sure that your home is ready for winter is to schedule an annual furnace tune-up for your heating system.
- Pick up some extra furnace filters! You’ll get one with your annual furnace tune-up, but it’s always a good idea to have a couple of extra ones on hand.
- Get your ducts working for you. If your HVAC system pushes cool air through the same ducts during the summer as it does warm air during the winter, you may need to change your registers or open and close ducts to certain rooms in order to optimize your heating once winter kicks into high gear.
- Running the furnace tends to dry out the air, so turn your humidifier on if you’ve got one, and don’t forget to change the filter. (That’s also included in your annual furnace tune-up, just so you know.)
- Make sure that your furnace, vents, and the rest of your heating system are clear of any clutter. Blocking the vents or having stuff too close to the furnace is not only a fire hazard, but can also impact the efficiency of your heating system. The heating pro who performs your annual furnace tune-up can tell you how much of a buffer you should leave between the furnace and everything else.
- Invest in a programmable digital thermostat, preferably a learning termostat that adjusting the temperature based on your habits. Experts suggest keeping the house around 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake, and dropping it as much as 10 or 15 degrees when you’re away from home or asleep.
- If your furnace is going to go out, then chances are it’s going to do it at the least opportune time, on the coldest night of the year.Be prepared especially if your furnace is at least 15 years old.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace the batteries, even if the batteries they have are still working. Ditto with flashlights, because you don’t want to be stumbling around in the dark if the power goes out.
- Speaking of stumbling around in the dark, don’t forget to check your fire extinguishers and make sure they’re accessible and fully charged. Cold weather means fireplaces, candles, and plenty of holiday lighting, which is all very cozy, but also presents a very real potential fire hazard, so play it safe.
- The best chance against freezing pipes is the furnace. On the off chance that the temperature does drop inside, though, you can help stave off freezing by leaving a faucet on, even just at a drip. Try the faucet farthest from where the water enters the house.
- Make sure the flue on your chimney is closed when it’s not in use to prevent drafts. In fact, it may be a good idea to get your chimney checked out by a pro before you build that first crackling fire.
- While your at it, check on that hot water tank . The last thing you want is for your water heater to go out in the middle of some cold winter night when you’re right in the middle of a shower!
- Winter means it’s time to change the direction of your ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans have a switch on them that lets you change the direction of the blades so that they rotate clockwise, in order to push warm air down and help circulate the heat from your furnace throughout the house.
- Cold weather can lead to power outages, which can be dangerous when the temperatures drop too low outside. So put together a game plan incase of power outages plus upplies
- Space heaters can be a great way to warm up just the area that you need to occupy. Unfortunately, they’re also a great way to start a fire if they’re left unattended. If you use a space heater, make sure you keep a close eye on it, and don’t leave it on if you wander off.
- When you’ve finished that delicious holiday dinner, don’t just scrape the plates into the garbage disposal. Disposals are handy contraptions, but they aren’t designed to handle just anything, and you can clog the pipes if you aren’t careful.
- Clean your gutters now that all the leaves have finally fallen.
- Make sure that your exterior garden hose is detached and that all outdoor faucets are shut off to prevent freezing.
- Bring in your outdoor furniture, not to mention grills, smokers, and other yard items. It’s not like you’ll be using them in the dead of winter anyway, and there’s no point in exposing them to the elements.
- Consider covering your outdoor AC unit during the winter, because snow and ice can do a number on it. But if you have a heat pump instead, make sure any debris or vegetation is cleared well away from it so that it has room to “breathe.”
- Find your snow shovel before you need it. And while you’re at it, it never hurts to get a spare.
- Get a tune-up for your snow blower, if you’ve got one.
- Don’t forget to pick up ice melt for the driveway, front steps, and walkway. Remember, magnesium is bad for concrete, and some ice melt can be dangerous for pets, so read labels!
- Put together a winter car prep kit in case you get stranded in the cold. Include a windshield scraper, extra warm clothes, water and nonperishable emergency food, a blanket, and even a bag of cat litter for some extra traction, if you need it.
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