Whether you’ve owned your home for many years or this is your first winter in your brand new abode, preparing your heating system for the season is vital. Every house is different, but there are a few things everyone should do to prepare for the chillier months ahead. From replacing the air filters to calling in a pro, it’s vital to stay on top of prepping for the winter months. While some of these might require outside assistance, there are plenty of basics you can DIY. Here are just a few tips to look into.
1. Replace Old Air Filters
Replacing the old and dirty air filters every year can do so much more than improve air quality. Doing this can help the heating system function better and with less obstruction. Dirty filters can even run your energy bill higher and increase your carbon footprint. Change your filters to give your HVAC a fresh start.
2. Check Your Home for Leaks
Although you might think your home is entirely secure from drafts and cracks, they’re much more common than you might think. Plenty of gaps can be found around doors, windows and other natural openings in your home’s insulation — especially in older homes. Make sure you properly insulate your garage door and seal up any leaks in your home. If you’re having a hard time finding where leaks are coming from, you can always call in a trusted professional to search and get to the root of things.
3. Lower Your Thermostat
This might sound a little bit backward, but it actually works. If you’re worried about running a steep bill throughout the winter, lowering your thermostat just a degree or two can yield significant savings throughout the season. Even just a few degrees can make a large impact over time, and you can always adjust the temperature to your comfort level as you go. Overall, it likely won’t impact your experience very much, but you will notice a consistent drop in your bills.
There’s no need to make yourself uncomfortable, but compromising with a few degrees can be a great way to give your wallet some wiggle room while still utilizing your heating system for its intended purpose.
4. Clean the Gutters
Leaves getting stuck in your gutters can cause ice and water blockages that prevent the necessary drainage they were built for. This can lead to excess cold and moisture and even water seeping into your home. Even though the gutters are outside and might seem unrelated to the heating system itself, you might find that they’re more connected than you think. If you want to avoid all this hassle, it’s best to get on top of cleaning your gutters early on in the season — that way, you don’t have to worry about it for the remainder of the year. You need to do this anyway, so your heating system is simply another reason to keep this task in mind.
5. Get Your Chimney Serviced
If you have a chimney, you should get it serviced sooner rather than later in the season, if you can. Cleaning is key to your health and safety, as it can prevent the buildup of toxins or poisonous gases that can accumulate with consistent use. While some people can do part or all of the cleaning job solo, it’s usually best to outsource things to a professional with the proper equipment and expertise. You want to be sure there are no leaks, drafts or open spots for cold air to come in throughout the winter and drive your bills up. Just like doors, gaps and leaks that can let the heat out and the cold air in, your chimney is no different, and you should look after it.
6. Unblock Any Heating Vents
This one might go without saying, but it can be pretty easy to forget if you aren’t careful. You might find yourself accidentally putting furniture or other household objects on top of heating grates, which can obstruct heat from circulating throughout your home as intended. Additionally, keeping things on top of heaters that are actively working can lead to overheating the furnace and other fire hazards. Make sure vents have a little bit of breathing room so you don’t have to deal with the hassle. If you’re leaving the house, you don’t want to come back to anything unsightly.
7. Seal Off Ducts
Heating ducts are a vital part of getting heat into your home. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to lose quite a lot of heat if the system isn’t organized properly and prepped for winter. Ensuring your ducts are sealed and protected can help prevent the loss of warmth all winter long, effectively saving you money, time and comfort.
8. Tackle Things as Early as Possible
Although it might feel logical to wait until the weather turns frightful, that might ultimately cause more harm than good, especially if you aren’t sure what parts of your heating system need addressing. The earlier in the season you take care of your heating system, the sooner you can relax and prepare for the cold weather ahead. This can also ensure that any big problems are addressed before you rely on your heating system every day — you never know when the chill will surprise you.
9. Call in a Pro for Serious Concerns
Much of the prep that comes along with getting your heating system ready for winter is fairly simple. Usually, you can do it all on your own, aside from a few tuneups. However, if you happen to have any serious concerns or notice sizable malfunctions you can’t repair, it’s usually best to call in a professional. You’ll know the job is done right and have peace of mind.
Preparing Your Home for Winter
You don’t want to mess around when it comes to winter weather. It’s vital to take the necessary steps to prepare your heating system for the season so you have peace of mind before those first snowflakes start falling.