Autumn may mean spooky season to a lot of people, but for homeowners, it should be a time of winter prep, specifically regarding HVAC and home improvement projects. Depending on your location and climate, you may not have a lot of time, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead as to which tasks you need to complete and prioritize them by urgency. If it is anything that can cause extensive damage, such as frozen water in your sprinkler system or a clogged or otherwise malfunctioning gutter spout, those items need to be moved towards the top of the list. So without further ado, here is a list of items that should be knocked off your checklist before winter settles in.
Check Your Furnace
We have mentioned before that autumn is the best time to replace your furnace filter should you need to. A clogged furnace filter will result in greater energy costs over time, as well as reduce the quality of the indoor environment. Keep an eye on your energy bill for irregularities or sudden increases in usage. This is also a good time to check the overall condition of your furnace to ensure that no obstructions and/or irregularities exist. Do not attempt to tamper with the furnace beyond changing the furnace. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check Your Fireplace
This one gets its own section because fireplaces have their own parts that keep them safe and functional. Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to their fireplaces is not opening the flue on a wood-burning unit. And yes, there are multiple kinds of fireplaces, from gas-powered to electric. If you are not already, get yourself acquainted with yours as soon as possible, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and learn how to clean and maintain your fireplace, safely and effectively.
If You Have a Fireplace, Check Your Chimney
Beyond user error and soot, another common source of chimney blockage is bird nests. Chimney caps typically keep these pests out of your chimney, but when it is in disrepair or missing, other problems can occur even if you clear the blockage, like water damage and backdraft. So before the snow flies, we implore you to safely get up on your roof and ensure that your chimney cap is in good shape for that roaring winter fire you and your family would like to have later.
Refurbish/Replace Your Doors
While this may sound silly to the uninitiated, the material that makes up your door also plays a role in how well your home retains energy. Steel doors, for example, are much better at keeping heat inside the home during the winter months as opposed to a wooden one. Also, the weather-stripping that surrounds your doors is a common point of failure when it comes to energy leaks. If it’s been awhile since you last replaced your front door’s weather-stripping, it may be a good idea to do so just in case.