Prepare for Cold Weather with These Winterizing Tips
Like it or not, cold temps are on their way. It’s smart to winterize your house to get ready for a safe, cozy, and comfortable season. With the help of the pros, you can prepare your house and your family for the chilly weather to come.
1. Tune-up Your Heating System
The last thing you want on a cold winter’s day is for your furnace to go down. Do your best to avoid that issue by scheduling furnace maintenance at the start of the season. During a furnace tune-up, a technician will look over your heating system to check whether everything is in order. The service might include cleaning the system, lubricating the components, and tightening the connections.
The technician will also test the unit to ensure that everything is in proper working order. That way, you can catch small issues before they turn into major repair needs. Not only will that improve your chances of staying warm all winter, but it may also save you money. Whether your home is heated by a furnace, a heat pump, or a geothermal system, it’s smart to schedule a tune-up before the heating season is in full swing.
While you’re at it, you might also want to sign up for a maintenance agreement. An agreement can help you develop a habit of getting your heating and cooling systems checked out each year. Plus, if any furnace issues arise over the winter, you may be eligible for priority service and repair discounts.
2. Prepare the Outside
Over the fall months, leaves and other debris might have accumulated in your gutters. Some may be scattered across your roof as well. You’ll want to remove those items before they get buried by inches of snow.
Otherwise, the debris could keep snow melt from draining properly from your roof. Poor drainage can lead to water damage on your roof or inside your home.
3. Fend Off Winter Germs
Ugh, winter germs are the worst! It may seem that the people around you are coughing and sniffling all season long. You can help protect your family by installing germicidal lights in your home. These devices use ultraviolet light to purify your indoor air as it moves through your heating and cooling system.
Germicidal lights may be effective against many bacteria and viruses. They work by altering microorganisms’ DNA structure to damage the organisms. It is reported that some UV light models can reduce the germs in your home’s air by as much as 50% in an hour or less. When one person in your home is under the weather, you’ll appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the rest of your family is still breathing clean air.
4. Humidify Your Environment
Winter air tends to be dry air. When your environment lacks moisture, you may feel more uncomfortable than necessary. Low humidity can leave your skin feeling rough and dry. Your skin may crack and itch as a result.
Another problem with low humidity levels is that they’re hospitable to germs. Viruses and bacteria can often travel better from one person to another in dry environments. They don’t spread as easily in humidified rooms.
Dry air isn’t great for your breathing. Your throat and sinuses may feel irritated and itchy. In particular, people with asthma may have a harder time in the winter. Nighttime snoring may increase too. Plus, houses with low humidity often feel colder than ones at a comfortable humidity level. You might find yourself cranking the heat unnecessarily high in an attempt to rectify the situation.
If you’re tired of dealing with such issues every winter, you’ll be glad to know that a humidifier could turn things around. Portable units are one option, but a whole-house humidifier can be even more effective. With a whole-home unit that hooks into your heating system, you can distribute properly humidified air to every room in your house.
5. Focus on Insulation
While a heating system in tip-top shape will do its best to warm your home all season, there’s no reason to make it work harder than it should. A drafty home will allow your warm air to escape and let cold air in. Improving your insulation could keep your home more comfortable and save you money on heating bills.
Insulation can be improved in a variety of ways. Your home’s needs may include additional insulation material in basement walls, weatherstripping around doors, and caulk in baseboard gaps. The attic is also an area that many homeowners fail to insulate properly. If you notice that snow melts quickly on your roof, this could indicate that a lot of heat is escaping your home through the attic.
Your pipes may need to be insulated as well. Protecting them against extreme temperatures could reduce the risk that they’ll freeze and burst during a particularly cold spell.
6. Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
When winter comes, you may spend more time indoors than you do the rest of the year. It’s best not to spend the season cooped up, breathing poor-quality air. Doing so can be detrimental to your health.
What’s in your home’s air? There may be dust and other particulates. If you have furry pets, their dander might be hanging out in your air too. Plus, the furniture and other goods in your home might give off VOCs that fill the air. These contaminants could be what you’re breathing in every day.
Instead of resigning yourself to living with polluted air, look into getting an air scrubber this year. This unit will hook into your heating system. Its role is to remove contaminants so that your home will be filled with safe, clean air.
7. Check The Alarms
Before winter sets in, it’s a good idea to make sure that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in good shape. Burning seasonal candles or lighting the fireplace can increase the risk of a house fire. Working smoke detectors could be lifesaving.
Furnace issues can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Seasonal tune-ups can reduce the risk, but it’s smart to install carbon monoxide detectors as well. If you don’t have these alarms, now is the time to add them to your home. If you already have some, install fresh batteries and depress the test button on the alarms to make sure they are working.
8. Program the Thermostat
You’ll save money on heating your home this winter if you keep your thermostat on a schedule. You can program it to warm your house when everyone is home and then drop the temperature lower at night or when people are away.
If your thermostat isn’t equipped for this task, it may be time for an upgrade. A heating and cooling company can install a state-of-the-art programmable model for you this winter.
Smart thermostats have an additional advantage: You can often control them from your smartphone or another device. If you are returning home earlier than expected, you can log into the thermostat’s app and crank the heat up. That way, you’ll come home to a toasty warm house.
Contact the Pros
Hoff Heating & AC in O’Fallon offers home winterizing services and more. We offer indoor air quality, cooling, and heating services, including installation, maintenance, or repair. Call today to schedule a visit from our experienced technicians.