Q. How should I prepare my house for the winter?
A. There are many things to consider to prepare your house for the cold winter months, with the safety factor of prime importance. Another consideration is energy conservation which will save you a significant amount of money while reducing energy consumption.
The first step is to have your heating system tuned up for the heating season. Your system will run more efficiently and will be less likely to break down when needed most. It is recommended that you have a professional heating contractor service a gas-fired system at least every other year and an oil-fired system checked annually. An easy and inexpensive maintenance item is the replacement of air filters which should be done monthly through the heating season to make your system run more efficiently and provide healthier air quality.
Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned once a year. Whether you use your fireplace or not, many heating systems and hot water tanks are vented through the chimney and need a functioning flue for proper exhaust. An inspection could reveal a compromised flue which is a serious safety concern.
Mass Save promotes energy conservation and provides a no-cost Home Energy Assessment for your house. This is a valuable tool to provide energy-saving tips and guidance for making your house environmentally friendly and more energy efficient. Contact at 866-527-7283 or www.massave.com.
Another inexpensive improvement is to install programmable thermostats so that heat is used when necessary and saved during times away from the house or during the night.
Be aware of safety issues when preparing for the winter heating season. Keep curtains and furniture away from heating vents and baseboard heat. This is not only a safety concern, but will reduce the heating efficiency if you have blocked heating vents. Do not use appliances such as ovens or toasters to heat any living space. If you use space heaters, leave at least a 3’ clearance from any potential flammable objects, and check for any dust that accumulates in and around the space heater, and keep an eye out for frayed or exposed wires. Space heaters should not be left on while unattended when you are out of the house or during sleeping hours.
Carbon monoxide is another safety topic which is addressed more completely in my next blog.