Optimizing Your Home For The Fall With 3 Easy Tips

 

Now that the fall season is almost here, the winter is fast approaching. With the cooler days and nights, it is time to start optimizing your home for the fall . In other words, it is time for winterizing the home. Here are 3 easy tips you should do to help make your home safer, comfortable, and cheaper to maintain during fall and winter.

1. Clean and inspect your Furnace and Duct System

During the summer, many homeowners neglect taking care of the furnace even if it's sending air conditioning throughout the home. Now that the temperature is dropping, it is time to get the heat pushing through the home again. This means the furnace and duct system may be filled with dirt and debris, allergens, pet dander, and possibly rodent droppings. Without a good cleaning you will likely be breathing bad air. General maintenance is recommended to keep the furnace running efficiently. You can clean or replace your furnace filter to improve the quality of the indoor air, and it keeps your furnace running efficiently which saves money. 

If you have a permanent filter,  use the recommended cleaning solutions (not harsh chemicals) and follow the specified cleaning directions. Contaminated air could cause major health problems. When it comes to replaceable filters, make sure you get the correct size to fit your furnace. Then, select your preferred level of filter protection.. If you have allergies or pets, a filter with a higher MERV rating will help keep your air cleaner. Find out from your furnace manufacturer what the highest level of filter you can use. Filters should also be replaced each month during the fall and winter.

The perfect way to get a clean furnace and air system is to hire a professional to clean the furnace and duct system. Doing a good vacuuming in and around your furnace and air intake vents also helps keep air moving better so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard. Also the professional can vacuum the inside of the duct system for a thorough cleaning. Having your ducts professionally cleaned is highly recommended. If your furnace is over 15 years old you should have it inspected by an HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) professional to make sure there are no problems. If your home uses baseboard or radiator heating, they should be inspected and cleaned for possible hazards.

If you have a removable A/C window unit, remove it and safely store it away to  keep cooler outside air from getting inside the home. Home A/C systems should be powered down from the breaker in your main electrical panel. Also, a safety shut-off switch located outside by the A/C unit should be turned off. In addition, a short cover over the a/c unit protects it from debris and leaves that can get inside the top of the unit while still allowing the unit some air. 

2. Cleaning Is Maintenance 

Clean your eavestroughs and downspouts: As leaves drop during the fall season, they can fill your eavestroughs and downspouts which stops the water from running off the roof and away from the home. Regular cleaning helps stop water from getting in the home and causing damage. There are many products that can be installed on your eavestroughs to keep leaves and pests out while still letting water through. Ask a local contractor for recommendations on what product works best. 

Inspect your roof and chimney: The average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof  is between 15 and 20 years. Check your roof and its shingles for soft wet spots before water starts dripping on your floor during a downpour in October or November. Wildlife pests, severe weather, and a property and area heavy with trees hasten the deterioration of the roof and foundation. If you have a tiled, metal, or solar panel roof, hire a professional for an inspection.

It is also important to check carbon monoxide detectors, change the batteries in your smoke detectors, clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney, clean and inspect your dryer vent, and inspect fire extinguishers. As well, shut off and drain outside faucets, and drain and bring garden hose inside or in the garden shed. If not, it can result in pipes and faucets bursting or cracking which can be an expensive repair.

3. Keep Cold Air Out and Warm Air In 

Caulking around windows, doors and other openings prevents cold air from getting in and the warm inside air from escaping. A boundary check will help identify any areas that need more caulking. This will keep the home warm and comfortable, waste less energy, and save money.

Weather stripping needs to be replaced every few years. Examine the stripping around exterior doors and windows. If it appears worn or cracked, replace it. Proper stripping means you cannot feel air moving when your doors and windows are closed. Make sure you are using the correct product for door stripping and window stripping. Attic openings should also have weather stripping. In addition, check your chimney for any crumbling bricks or bird or squirrel nests inside. Eliminate and repair as necessary.

If you are not comfortable going onto your roof, hire a professional to inspect it. If you do find signs of a pest infestation, call animal control.

The plumbing system is a very important system that requires maintenance. It is very beneficial to have a plumber inspect your pipes, sewer line, valves, and water heater to make sure everything is in good working order. Any minor problems should be fixed before they become major expensive disasters. If you don’t have shut-off valves or can’t find them, hire a plumber to have them installed. As well, adding pipe insulation can help keep pipes from freezing and bursting

If you’re not comfortable with doing any home maintenance work, hire a professional to ensure you don’t get injured or cause costly damage.

Home Insurance and a home warranty plan together are excellent protection during all seasons, including fall and winter. At ARWHome, we are a one-stop shop providing coverage not only for major home appliances and systems, but also for new and existing home and computing entertainment products. Homeowners can pick and choose which home appliances and systems they want covered in their plan. There are no long-term contracts so you may hold a policy for as little or for as long as you would like. If you have home insurance, buying a home warranty plan is an extra layer of protection.

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