As you are getting your home ready for the seasonal festivities of the fall and taking care of the clean up outside, don’t forget to take care of the inner workings of your home too.
Here are a few tips on things that you can do to keep your home warm and efficient as we head into another good old Saskatchewan winter!!
Have your home heating system maintained by scheduling an inspection.
Find out what maintenance is pertinent to keeping your system purring along. It is more pleasant and cost effective doing preventative maintenance than waking up to a very cold house and possibly a larger repair bill. In addition, as part of a seasonal inspection, a professional can make sure there are no signs of Carbon Monoxide.
Clean or replace furnace filters on a regular basis, approximately once a month.
Not only does this help with some of the air quality in your home, but it also keeps your heating and cooling equipment running cleanly and efficiently.
Programmable thermostats can keep your home warm during the day and a bit cooler at night to maximize savings on your fall and winter heating bills. An example of a programmed temperature setting is about 20˚C to 22˚C for daytime and about 16˚C for at night year round. Consistency is key!
Fireplaces and fireplace chimneys
These should be checked to make sure that they are clear and in proper working order, so that when its time to use it, you can be confident that there will be no problems. When not in use, sealing the chimney flue and or keeping the damper closed will prevent heat loss too.
Ensure proper insulation in the attic.
Essentially, this is like the hat you put on in the winter to keep your head warm. Proper insulation can help your furnace maintain that temperature you so happily walk into from the cold.
Window care is key in keeping your home temperature cozy and comfortable.
If there are air leaks, not only will it be cooler, your furnace will run more in order to maintain the heat setting, and the bill to go up. A simple fix of using heavy plastic to insulate a drafty window will keep you warm and saving money.
Window coverings are also of assistance during the winter, by letting the sun’s warmth in during the day and acting as additional insulation by closing them at night. They can be purchased in various weights that can improve energy efficiency.
Sealing of air leaks and weather stripping around doors and windows.
Make sure to check the attic, basement, crawl spaces, utility cut-throughs, gaps around chimneys and unfinished spaces for air leaks that can be fixed and take the appropriate steps to seal them up. Doors and windows that are older, may need new weather stripping and or caulking to get the proper air seal. This also includes doors that may be on the inside of your home, but lead to a colder space like your garage door.
Leaky faucet in your house?
Not only can the sound be annoying, this is a good time to get them fixed as its much easier doing this while the weather is still a bit more tolerable if there is any outdoor access involved.
Water lines and pipes ...
Make sure those water lines outside are properly drained and underground sprinklers are blown out. This will ensure no damage to the lines and pipes and all will be ready to go in the spring. Do it yourself if you have an air compressor!
Proper insulation in the wall cavities around the pipes and various openings is the easiest way to avoid them from freezing and bursting. If there is exposure, they can be wrapped and insulated to prevent this.
On that note, also learn where your main water valve is and also where the shut offs are for toilets, sinks, bathtubs and dishwashers. If something does happen to burst or break, then getting the water shut off quickly can save thousands in repairs.
Water tanks are important too.
Check to make sure that it is also in good working order, not leaking or rusting. Cold showers in the cool of the winter are especially not a pleasant experience. As an added energy savings, the bottom half of the hot water tank can be insulated and the first six feet of the hot and cold lines. This will keep your water heater at a more consistent level of heating overall and in addition to the “blanket”, you may find you can comfortably lower your water heater temperature 8-12 degrees and keep the energy savings in your pocket .