We are now thinking about the impending colder weather that fall and winter bring. This is the time to think about your future heating needs and how you can maintain your indoor comfort for the months ahead. Many people take their heating systems for granted, and they don’t have it regularly serviced. An HVAC system is a complex piece of equipment, and if it hasn’t been used in a while, it may not turn on when you need it most. There are other things to consider, the level of insulation, blocked gutters, and other factors can all affect how well your home copes with colder weather. Let’s take a closer look at six tips to prepare your home and heating system for efficient heating through fall and winter.
- Maintenance, Servicing, and Repairs
The first priority for anyone that wants a more comfortable fall and winter is to check the heating system. During the summer, we don’t need heating, and the system may have been turned off for months when fall is approaching. During this period of inactivity, the heating system will be coated with a thin layer of dust and debris. This material can find its way into the heating system and cause problems with operation and represent a fire hazard. The system will need a thorough cleaning, any items stacked near the furnace will need to be moved to a safer distance, and the air filter should be changed. Every component should be carefully checked to ensure that it’s working as the manufacturer intended before the heating system is used for the first time. Contact a local certified HVAC specialist and ask them to give your furnace some essential maintenance for the heating season ahead.
- Seal the Cracks and Gaps
Over the summer months, cracks and gaps can appear in your insulation, and this will allow treated air to escape making your heating system less efficient. This will result in a loss of heating performance, the home may never seem warm enough, and your energy bills will increase at the same time. The common problem areas are around doors and windows. These cracks and gaps may be obvious, but if they are very small, they could be harder to see. If you close a door or window, light a candle, and carefully move it around the opening, the flame should remain steady. If the candle flame moves or splutters, it’s likely that you have a draft in that area. Sealing up the cracks and gaps can be carried out by anyone with basic DIY skills or for more professional results contact a local HVAC specialist for expert help and advice.
- Thoroughly Clear the Gutters
During the summer the gutters can become clogged up with all manner of debris, and this problem will only get worse during fall. Dead leaves will soon be added to the dust, debris, branches and other materials and when water is added this can become a problem. A clog can easily form; this will result in an overflow, and the water will begin to damage your home. The gutters, walls, roof, and surrounding landscaping will all be affected by this water damage, and this will be expensive to fix. If you want to be ready for the colder weather, it’s essential to give all the gutters in your home a thorough cleaning.
- Install Storm Doors and Windows
In the months to come, your summer screens will be useless so now is the time to switch them out for storm doors and windows instead. Insects will not be the problem in fall and winter, and using storm doors and windows can help to keep the warm air in your home. A screen will not offer much in terms of heat retention, and many people fail to recognize this fact. If you are interested in saving money on your fall and winter heating bills using storm doors and windows can really help.
- Check the Water Heater for Damage
The water heater in your home works hard all year round, but extra demands are placed on this unit during the colder months of the year. Many people ignore their water heater until it fails, and then they are stuck with no hot water until they can get it repaired or replaced. A water heater can fail due to a gradual build up of sediment and debris inside the tank itself. Scale from mineral deposits in hard water can form on the internal surfaces make the water heater work harder and for longer. This is incredibly inefficient, and the energy bills will increase. A water heater can be inspected, cleaned, and repaired, but if you have an older unit, it can be cheaper in many cases to simply replace the unit for a modern energy efficient water heater. If you want to avoid water heater problems in the future, you can save money by scheduling regular servicing for your system.
- Avoid Cold Starting the Heating System
It’s easy to avoid the information presented here, but this advice is tried and tested. One area that you shouldn’t ignore is the heating system, and it’s essential that you don’t try to start up the heating as soon as the weather turns cold without getting it serviced first. Many people turn their heating on as soon as it gets cold and crank up the heat with no thought about the months of inactivity. If your furnace, central heating system or boiler have failed over the summer months, you can place additional strain on your heating system. A relatively simple repair or a single failed component is easy to fix, but if the system is turned on, other parts can be affected. This can lead to no or a poor level of performance, higher energy bills, and a more expensive repair bill. In extreme cases, the heating system may even need to be replaced. In comparison, servicing and maintenance is an inexpensive option, and it will even make your heating system work more efficiently to save you money on your energy bills. A well maintained HVAC system is less likely to break down when you need it most, and you will have peace of mind for the colder months ahead.