Autumn is a time of year when leaves start to change and fall off and temperatures begin to steadily cool. There are many things to keep in mind for staying warm indoors. We recently wrote a post that briefly discussed the importance of preparing your home, appliances and heating systems for the winter months ahead. There are a number of items that must be inspected and measures taken to make sure you and your loved ones will experience a comfortable winter. We highly recommend using our Home Maintenance Handbook as a checklist that can be revisited around this time each year to make sure your equipment and home are performing to their highest possible potential. Here are a few items for specific attention:
· Inspect your fireplace and chimney each year. While some may think that chimneys and fireplaces don’t need regular care or inspection, many fireplaces can be dangerous when left alone. This is especially true in older homes with fireplaces and chimneys that are decades (or more) old as flammable creosote can build up over time, and mortar can fail Whether you have a wood burning fireplace, or a gas fireplace insert, chimney and fireplace inspection is a must, and autumn is a great time to do it. If you inspect your chimney and find cracks or need cleaning, it’s best to contact a professional to repair, as this can be dangerous if not done properly.
· Inspect and clean your furnace. We recently wrote on the blog in detail about furnace care and maintenance, but this topic can’t be overstated. Having your furnace regularly inspected and cleaned not only can make your home’s heating system safe, it can also save a ton of money if you experience a cold winter. The more efficient a furnace and HVAC system is, the less energy it will require to run. This is especially true when it’s bitter cold and the furnace has to work extra hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Again, ensure that the air filters are properly changed based on the recommended timeframe. Be sure to check your thermostat setting on your furnace to find a good balance between energy efficiency and heating needs.
· Check all window and door seals. Many homeowners all but throw away money by not inspected and fixing cracks and other air leaks around their doors and windows. Even the slightest leak can cause a great deal of energy and warm air to escape from inside the home. Be sure this isn’t happening to you. While there are some great visual tests you can do yourself, it’s often best and most thorough to contact a professional, such as Bel Red, to perform an energy audit using specialized tools to alert you to any problems that may have escaped the untrained eye. Remember – a little bit of weatherstripping or caulking can go a long way toward saving you money this winter. Now is the time to make sure it’s in place.