Fall is upon us, and winter will be here before we know it! With it comes thinking about travel arrangements, gifts to buy and cards to write.
But before all that activity gets underway, it’s a great time to start thinking about how to prepare your house for the season as well. Read on for some tried and true tips from Nicholson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning!
Obviously, the colder the weather gets, the more you will be using your heating system. Now is a good time to perform some basic heating maintenance to keep it running efficiently throughout winter. Check out our “4 Problems You Can Avoid With Heating Maintenance” blog post to learn why heating maintenance is so important!
- Change your filter. This should be a regular occurrence for your heating and cooling systems. Check and replace your filter about every month. A dirty air filter can cause your heating system to work harder than necessary and lead to higher heating costs. If a dirty filter goes unchanged for an extended period of time, it can also shorten the life of your heating system. When changing the air filter, it’s important to make sure you are purchasing the right size and type, as specified by your manufacturer.
- Schedule an annual tune-up. Before your heating system is thrust into further action, get a tune-up from a trusted professional. Your heating equipment should be checked at least once each year. A regular check-up for your heater is similar to an oil change or tire rotation for your car – it will cost you a little now but will keep your heating equipment running efficiently in the long run. Regular heating maintenance will also prolong the life of your heater and prevent costly repairs.
- Turn the temperature down. Take advantage of heat produced naturally and turn your thermostat down a few degrees before everyone comes over. The natural body heat will make up the difference and keep you warm without straining your heater.
- Get your air ducts re-sealed. Leaking air ducts are the number one cause of uneven heating in your home. Over the years, your ducts age and the joints and seals deteriorate, leading to a loss in efficiency for your heating system. Leaky ducts mean that the air you are paying to heat is escaping instead of heating your home. Besides reducing efficiency, this causes increased usage of your heating system and can also reduce the lifespan of your heater.
- Increase your insulation. Much like the leaking air duct, insufficient insulation means that your heated air is not staying heated while it passes through your attic, floors and walls. This results in less efficiency and a strain on your heating system to make up for the difference. The EPA says that a properly sealed and insulated home can save the homeowner up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. The recommended depth of insulation in your attic is 12-15 inches.
The plumbing in your home is one of those things we all take for granted until something goes wrong. Avoid large plumbing problems this winter by following our tips below:
- Have your water heater inspected. This is especially important if you are having friends or family over this winter. The increased strain on your water heater will bring any underlying problems to the surface quickly.
- Check the temperature setting on your water heater. You want to keep it no higher than 120 degrees. Higher temperatures waste energy heating the water to a temperature that will go unused. By lowering the temperature you can save your water heater unnecessary work.
- Check for leaks or drips. Take a close at any exposed plumbing as well as your faucets for signs of water leakage. Catching leaks early makes a big difference in the cost to repair.
Whether or not you will be putting up any holiday lights this year, we have a few maintenance tips for your yard as well. The goal is to prevent any damage and keep the outside of your house in tip-top shape!
- Keep your plants happy. Keep your flowers, bushes and shrubs healthy and warm this winter by applying a thin layer of mulch around the base of the plants. Also, watch local weather forecasts and cover plants before freezes.
- Check for and repair broken or missing shingles. Make sure your roof is ready for the winter storms by inspecting for and replacing broken or missing shingles.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Clear your gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris. This will keep water from collecting on your roof and prevent wood rot and other damage to your home.
Help from the Pros
Use these quick and easy HVAC and plumbing tips to help you better prepare your home for winter this year. For more information on how Nicholson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can help you prepare your home for winter, contact us online today or give us a call!