Preparing Your Home for a Comfortable Winter

With the arrival of cooler temperatures comes a much-needed break for your home’s air conditioner, but before you crank up your heat pump or furnace, make sure your home is ready for the transition.

Though you should schedule a system tune-up at least once a year, here are a few things you can do to prepare your home comfort system (and your home) for the cold months ahead:

  • Check and change your air filters, as directed.
  • Check for air leaks in your home.
  • Check your system’s ductwork for leaks. In most instances, you’ll want to have an expert look at your ductwork, but you can perform some preliminary checks yourself. Look for rips, tears or gaps in the ductwork sealant and check vents in your home to make sure air is flowing. If you do discover any leaks, contact a heating and air contractor immediately.
  • Switch ceiling fans from counter-clockwise to clockwise motion to help circulate warm air trapped near your ceiling.
  • Remove debris from around your home’s outdoor unit. Hose off any dirt and trim back any encroaching foliage.
  • Remove floor vent registers for cleaning. Vacuum up any dust or pet hair and remove small items that often find their way through the vents.
  • If you have a fireplace, up to 20 percent of the warm air generated by your system could be escaping through the chimney. To prevent this heat loss, have a chimney sweep inspect your fireplace’s damper and make sure it is working properly (usually part of a routine service call, recommended before seasonal use begins.) For an added layer of protection, install a glass front or a draft guard for your fireplace.

It’s a good idea to turn on your heater for the first time on a day when the weather is mild. Testing your system while the temperatures outside are still comfortable allows you to keep your windows open and air out the unpleasant smell usually associated with your heater’s first use of the season.

The colder months are also a great time to compare your energy bills from the summer to previous years and look for noticeable spikes in energy consumption. While your energy bill won’t break down how your home is using energy, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, an inexpensive monitoring kit (found at most electronics stores) can help you narrow down which appliances and electronics may be causing the spike. If your home comfort system is the problem, you’ll have the fall and winter months to diagnose and consider repairs or replacements before the cooling season begins again.

With a little preventative maintenance and household upkeep, you should be able to keep your home warm and comfortable all season long.

For more information on how to ensure your home comfort system is running efficiently, or to schedule a seasonal tune-up, contact Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning or give us a call at (850) 580-4029.

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