Preparing Your Home for Comfort, Safety and Efficiency
Seasons have distinct energies. Autumn is a time of diligent preparation. Animals instinctively know to start prepare for winter. They spend days foraging, eating extra food, tucking away food stores and readying nests or dens for winter. As the evenings shorten and cool, something stirs within us too. And we begin to ready the nest for the cold months ahead.
For homeowners in a ski town there’s lots to do before the snow flies. We clean, gather and store outdoor furniture, toys & ornaments. Window screens come down. Gardeners tend their beds. And the garage inevitably needs attention so cars will once again fit easily. Here are some ideas for what needs to be done inside our homes in preparation for the long winter months.
STOP THE DRAFTS
To saves on costs and increase comfort check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out as needed to keep heat from escaping. Look where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. Check all windows and door frames and threshhold’s weather stripping for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace stripping, if necessary. Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow. Don’t forget to check the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Dirty spots in insulation may be a sign of a leak. Use a sealant to plug up any leaks. Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use. In older homes, this can be a major source of cold air into the home.
DONT NEGLECT THE FURNACE
In my experience selling Park City homes, all too often I see a home furnace that has not been serviced for two years or more. The recommendation is for annual tune-up service. At around $100, it is cost-effective and worth the peace of mind. A professional will check for overall system functionality, carbon monoxide leaks, or frayed electrical wires. It will then be up to you regularly replace the furnace filter. This is important to insure proper function for your furnace, maximum efficiency, safety and improved indoor air quality. The standard recommendation is every 1 – 3 months. Most homeowners replace the filter at the beginning of the season and forget it. I recommend checking several times throughout the winter. Look for debris to gauge how often it makes sense to replace and then lock into that schedule year after year. Buy extra filters and schedule a reminder for yourself.
Minimize the chance of a fire from your furnace by keeping the area around your system free of potential obstructions, especially any flammable products or materials. Moving things away from the area will allow for good air circulation and decrease any risk of an accident.
TIME FOR THE SMART TECHNOLOGY
If you have not already done so consider replacing old thermostats with programmable or Smart thermostats. They are great for saving on heating costs! There really is no reason not to. Between Questar (now Dominion Energy) and Rocky Mountain Power you can get a rebate for about $150.00 off a $250.00 product. Install and optimize your home’s energy-efficiency by setting pre-programmed temperatures for different situations, seasons and times.
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September, 2016 Winterizing Your Home