As hard as it may be to start thinking about the winter, fall really is the perfect time to start preparing your home for the colder temperatures and harsher weather that’s coming. If you’re a homeowner, there are a number of ways to prepare your home for the incoming season change, and ensure you stay warm and cozy all winter long. Here are just a few things you can start doing now to get a head start.
Check for Drafts
Something as simple as a drafty window or door jamb can increase your heating bill up to 15%. Head off a skyrocketing bill by checking all your windows and doors for drafts before the cold sets in. An easy way to do this is by holding a lit candle or stick of incense and slowly moving it along window and door edges, looking for locations where small drafts affect the smoke or flame. Investing in some caulk or weatherstripping can make all the difference when the temperature drops – or you can get your house inspected by a professional to be doubly sure the outside stays out.
Clean and Replace Filters
According to many experts, you should ideally be changing your HVAC filters every season. The start of fall is the perfect time to remove old filters and clear your duct vents of any lingering dust and buildup. Shut off the furnace and remove any old, dusty filters. Replace with new filters and you’re ready to go! Not only will it help to reduce your heating costs, but it can also improve the air quality in your home.
Test Out Your Winter Equipment
It’s always a great idea to test that your furnace is in good working order before it starts to freeze outside. Turn on your furnace or switch your heat pump to warming mode and take a slow walk through your house, making note of any strange rattling or clanking noises, any vents that aren’t working, or notable cold spots. A service visit now could save you a ton of time and stress (not to mention money) in emergency repairs later in the season. If you’re ready for an upgrade, make sure you’re investing in a high-efficiency furnace to optimize your comfort and minimize your heating costs. This is also a great time to test any other winter equipment you’ll need to rely on—snowblower, anyone?
Change Batteries on Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
No matter what your household heating system is like, it can be lifesaving to ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working to their full potential. Now is a great time to check the batteries in all of your household devices to ensure you and your family are safe this winter. It’s recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke and carbon detectors every six months.
Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades
Fan blades can accumulate dust like nobody’s business, and a seasonal wipe-down with a damp cloth helps to keep your air and surfaces cleaner throughout the year. However, did you know that you can actually use your ceiling fans in the winter as well? Normally, the spin of the ceiling fan pulls heat up and away from the main body of the room. However, most ceiling fans have a switch that changes the direction of the fan. This allows your fan to push warm air down from the ceiling into the room during the winter, which can help you save on heating costs.
Reprogram Your Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is one of the most energy-efficient and cost-effective ways to keep your home at the ideal temperature all year long. Take some time as the seasons change to ensure that you’ve switched it from cooling to heating, and that it’s set at a comfortable temperature for your family. You may also want to consider investing in a smart thermostat (we can help with that), so you can schedule your heating to turn down automatically at a certain time (like when nobody’s home) and store your settings for each day.
Schedule a Service Visit
Regular maintenance is the best possible way to ensure the effectiveness and longevity of your heating and cooling systems. Having a professional look over your system to ensure everything is functioning well before the season officially changes is the most reliable way to get peace of mind. (If you’re part of Simply Green Home Service’s lease-to-own program, the cost of all replacement parts or labour you may need is included in your affordable monthly payments.) For more information about all of the products we can offer to keep you and your family comfortable this winter, reach out to our experts today.