Posts

Prepare for Winter with a Fall Maintenance Check

When the warm days of summer give way to the crisper weather of fall, it’s a sign you should be getting ready for winter. Winter proofing your home keeps things running smoothly reduces energy waste and keeps your family toasty warm even on the coldest days. Here are our helpful tips to help prepare for winter with a fall maintenance check.

Air Leak Check 

Over the years, your home starts to show its age. This often means it can develop many sneaky ways for warm air to escape. Some of the most common places for air leaks are your windows and doors, as well as your attic. With the first signs of fall, perform an air leak check to look for spots that might interfere with your home’s heating:

  • Look at each of your windows for potential air leaks particularly around the frames and sill. These areas can be caulked inside and out with the proper seal for interior and exterior use.
  • Open and close your windows and see if they look like they could use some new weather stripping to help improve the seal. You will notice issues in any areas that pull away from the frame when the window opens and closes. A good test is to slide a dollar bill or piece of paper into the window and shut it. If you can pull it out, time for new weather stripping.
  • Do the same tests and inspection for any exterior doors. You can caulk gaps and add weather stripping to improve the seal.
  • If you have vines on your home overlapping siding, look for gaps. Pull the vines away and seal the gaps to prevent moisture and cold air from entering the walls.
  • Check your attic for signs of gaps along the roofline as well as dampness. Seal any obvious gaps using the appropriate caulking.

Look for Mold

Mold is a very dangerous, unhealthy intruder in your home. Because your home tends to remain closed up for the winter months, you really want to avoid sealing yourself in with mold. Look for mold in common areas where moisture occurs such as your bathrooms, sinks and windows. Use a strong mold spray to remove it and prevent further mold from growing.

Roof and Gutters

Make sure your gutters are debris free to ensure melting snow and ice have somewhere to go. Clogged gutters can lead to serious issues including giant icicles that can cause harm to your home not to mention put your family at risk for falling ice. As well, ice that builds up in the gutters can cause ice dams, which are very risky for causing roof damage and ultimately leaks. You’ll also be better prepared for thaws that occur in the spring to avoid water damage.  

It’s always a good idea to have a roof inspection. If you are comfortable on a ladder and with heights, you can do a once over of your roof to look for issues such as damaged or missing shingles. Otherwise, you can call in a roofing expert to look for areas in need of repair.

Furnace Maintenance Call 

The last thing you need is a furnace breakdown in the frigid winter. Set up a maintenance call with your HVAC specialist so they can do a complete check to make sure it is in top shape. You can do some preliminary checks by turning on your furnace to make sure it works, and that the thermostat allows you to turn the heat up and down. You can also do a quick clean up around your heater like vacuuming up dust. This is also a good time to change your filters to allow your furnace to run more efficiently. Your HVAC pro will handle the rest making sure all parts are in working order and letting you know if repairs or a replacement are required. Remember, if you want to reduce your energy bills, you need to make sure your heater is humming!

Inspect Duct Work

Your ductwork can also experience leaks that can lead to energy challenges. Wherever you have exposed ducts look for signs of issues such as loose screws, missing or loose duct tape and ducts that appear to be disconnected. Check your duct returns and supply ducts for debris and give them a quick vacuum to keep them free of obstructions.

Water Heater Check

If you want to improve energy efficiency, you can also add a water heater blanket and foam pipe insulator to help you save on water heating.

These fall maintenance tips will get your home winter ready so you and your family will avoid issues when winter makes its first appearance.

If you would like more information on fall maintenance for your HVAC system, contact our team of experts today. 

Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips to Follow & Why

The summer months are all about trying to beat the heat and leaning heavily on the air conditioner in your home to keep things comfortable. If you have a traditional, centralized HVAC system, this means your chilled air is running through the ducts and into every room in your home.

However, this same series of ducts and vents is going to continue to be used in autumn and winter as temperatures drop and you switch back to your furnace to stay warm and toasty. Once the seasons change, you should think about conducting fall HVAC maintenance.

Your Filter Needs Changing

For central HVAC systems, a filter change is part of tried-and-true HVAC maintenance. The filter in your furnace works continuously, as long as your air conditioner is on. It screens out harmful particulates that can affect your air quality. However, as a physical screen, it can fill up eventually. When that happens, it can actively block airflow, causing your HVAC system to work harder and longer than it needs to. And that means you pay higher bills.

The recommended interval to change filters is every 90 days or three months. In other words, when you see that the season is changing, it’s time to put in a new filter.

Clean Your Vents

The air vent or “register” that you find on the floor of every room is the exit point where warm or cool air is pumped, helping to adjust the room temperature to the desired level. These vents receive dirt, dust, and other particles from two directions. They get dirty because of dirt in the rooms themselves, such as fur from pets or lint from fabrics. But they also trap any dirt coming from the ventilation duct network.

So, if you haven’t taken a close look at these registers in some time, now is your opportunity. Proper heating and cooling is about unobstructed airflow. Take some time to clean out those registers.

Check for Leaks & Drafts

Over the course of the summer, there may have been accidents in and around the house. Or, the weather may have blown through with an intense storm that took off shingles and damaged windows. Time and weather may have weakened some parts of your home’s structure, such as sealant around pipes and window frames. Rodents and other animals may have damaged the exterior or interior of your home, such as insulation barriers.

When your house’s seals and insulation are compromised, your air treatment system isn’t as effective. For instance, in the winter, warm air will start to escape areas of your house, and cold air can also enter. Don’t ignore even the smallest hole or other structural weakness. Leaving them open and exposed also paves the way for rodents and other pests to get into your home. If you don’t want your home to be a refuge for pests in the winter or to raise your heating bills, plug those holes up.

Get an Energy Audit

If you want to see how many ways you can reduce your energy bills, consider getting an experienced professional to conduct an energy audit. An energy audit is a specialized type of inspection. It’s where the energy auditor looks over your home and evaluates just how energy-efficient and well-insulated your home is.

A proper audit can track down leaks, tell you where you are losing money, and tell you what you can do to improve your energy efficiency. Improvements may include getting new insulation or upgrading your HVAC if it is very old. Regardless of the results, it’s up to you to decide if and how you want to follow the auditor’s advice.

Get an Expert Inspection & Maintenance

If you want to keep your home secure and your HVAC system running optimally, let the pros handle HVAC maintenance. This way, you have professionals examining your furnace and getting it ready for another season. They will also conduct important maintenance such as cleaning out the air ducts, which is difficult to do on your own.

If you’d like to have the peace of mind that comes from professional inspections and HVAC maintenance, contact us today. We’re ready to get your HVAC system back up to speed.