Now that fall is officially here, it’s time to prepare your home for cold weather. These 5 maintenance tips to prepare your home for winter, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.
1. Tune Up Your Heating System
For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage. If you act soon, you’ll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year!
2. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).
This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings — and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.
3. Caulk Around Windows and Doors
If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.
4. Clean the Gutters
If your gutters are full of detritus, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim — plus cause leaks and ice dams.
5. Call a Chimney Sweep
Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.