A little planning and effort in the fall can set up your household for a warm, low-maintenance, and worry-free winter
Having a thorough winterization routine is one of the most important steps to keeping your home warm and comfortable all winter long. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of every dollar used by your HVAC system as you switch from air conditioning to heating.
Consider setting aside a fall weekend to winterize your home. Some of these tasks are easier to do while the weather is still moderate, and if you come across any HVAC issues, there is still time for you to call a professional before their busy winter season begins.
Check out these seven keys to a strong winterization plan:
1) Schedule Your Furnace Tune-up. An annual inspection and tune-up before winter is a smart way to extend the life of your HVAC system by catching small problems before they can get worse. And when you schedule your appointment early, you can avoid waiting in line behind homeowners who put off their tune-up until the last minute.
2) Inspect Your Ductwork for Leaks. This is something an HVAC technician can also help with, but you can personally inspect the areas of the ductwork you can easily reach. Using a draft detector from your local hardware store, or even just using a bare hand to feel for air pressure, carefully inspect your exposed ductwork for signs of escaping air. Joints and seams are the most likely areas for leaks.
3) Check Your Attic Insulation. Even if you rarely venture into the attic, the insulation can break down and lose volume over the years. Replacing the insulation every so often is a great way to guard against heat loss.
4) Reverse the Rotation of Your Ceiling Fans. If you haven’t changed this since summer, your fans should be rotating counterclockwise, which creates a cooling downdraft. In the winter, your fans should rotate clockwise to help distribute heated air evenly throughout your home.
5) Shore Up Your Window and Door Seals. A handheld draft detector also comes in handy here for finding leaks or gaps in weather stripping and other seals. When you find leaky spots, consider repairing them by replacing the weather stripping or using caulk to fill in the gaps.
6) Trim the Trees. In areas that see winter precipitation, it pays to trim back branches that hang over roofs and power lines. If those branches collect enough ice, they could break off and deal serious damage to whatever sits below.
7) Clean Out Your Gutters. It’s important to ensure the free flow of water and refuse during winter because you don’t want things to freeze in your gutters. This could cause issues for your roof when the water starts to melt.
Winterize your home now — your comfort and budget depend on being prepared before the first chilly winds come blowing in!