There's nothing worse than turning on your furnace the first cold morning of the season and not getting heat.
Prepare your system for cold weather and rest assured you'll have heat when you need it. Here are seven steps to take each year before the weather turns cold. These small tasks will keep you cozy and safe and could save you money on your utility bill this winter.
7 Ways to Prepare Your Heating System for Fall and Winter
1. Replace old air filters
To maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your heating system, start by throwing out the old air filters and replacing the air filters with new ones.
Having dirty filters in your home causes your heating system to work harder than necessary, is not energy-efficient, and will cost you more on your utility bills. It’s best to change your filters on a regular basis throughout winter to avoid sediment and debris build-up and keep your heating system running smoothly and efficiently.
The general rule of thumb for replacing your air filters is once every 3 months to ensure optimal HVAC system performance.
2. Lower the thermostat
This may sound crazy, but the average household can save about 2 percent per month on their winter utility bills for every degree the thermostat is lowered; that may not seem like much, but it certainly adds up over time! So if you like to keep your home at 74 degrees, try turning your thermostat down to 70 degrees and grabbing a blanket for extra warmth.
Bundle yourself up and bundle those savings! It’s a win-win.
You can save even more by lowering the thermostat further when your house is vacant. Investing in a programmable thermostat is an excellent way to do this. Although programmable thermostats may cost more upfront than standard thermostats, they usually pay for themselves in just one winter season.
3. Seal all leaks
Cold air belongs outside your home, not inside.
It is incredibly important to check for leaks around your home and seal them before the onset of colder temperatures. Warm air will escape rapidly through any leaks or cracks in your house, causing your heating system to work harder and longer. This will end up costing you more in utilities in the long run, and contribute to unnecessary wastage of energy.
Weatherstripping and caulk should be used to seal cracks and leaks around your house. You should also inspect the roof and chimney to see if repairs are needed, as most warm air escapes through these areas (remember, warm air rises).
4. Clean the chimney (if you have one)
Does your home have a chimney? A clean chimney is crucial to having a safe and non-hazardous environment in your home.
Use a flashlight to peer inside your chimney. Make sure there are no holes or obstructions such as bird nests, which could impair the functionality of your entire home. Clean chimneys prevent house fires and prevent the buildup of poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide, keeping your home from turning into a safety hazard.
Having a clean chimney will also prevent cold drafts and cut down on heating bills.
5. Clean your gutters
Fall leaves and debris left in gutters over winter can clog drains, which can potentially cause ice dams and lead to your drainage systems not working properly. This could result in water leaking into your home (via rain, sleet or snow), damaging household furnishings and raising your energy bills.
Save yourself the hassle of repairing water damage later by cleaning out your drains and gutters now. Be sure to routinely check for misalignments while running water through gutters; this is another important step to avoiding water damage.
6. Seal any ducts
Ducts are usually stashed away in the attic or basement of most homes and aren’t something people usually think about.
However, up to 20 percent of the heating that moves throughout the duct system can be lost in homes with central heating systems if the ducts are not organized and properly prepped for winter. Ducts that have been properly sealed could potentially save you $120 or more on your annual energy bill!
7. Unblock heating vents
Furniture or large, decorative furnishings are often placed in areas inside homes that unintentionally block heating vents. Keep your heating vents unobstructed to prevent your heating system from working harder than necessary. Blocked vents can also lead to overheating of the furnace and endanger your home. Uncovered vents will allow heated air to get out and disperse evenly throughout the house, keeping your home warm and cozy.
The HVAC experts at Assured Comfort suggest having your home’s heating system professionally inspected at least once a year – preferably before the winter season begins –to ensure everything is working as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Assured Comfort offers a variety of services to help you prepare for winter, including:
- Furnace or heating tune-ups and service.
- Furnace or heating repairs.
- Heating system or furnace replacements.
- Installation of heat pumps.
- Ductless heating services.
If you would like qualified professionals to assist in preparing your heating system for winter, click the link below to get a head start on the seasonal change.