How to get Your Home Ready for the Winter Months | Eco Tips to Save Energy
You never hear of Fall Cleaning but hear about ?spring cleaning" all the time? When winter comes more time is spent indoors and more indoor entertaining is common. It seems the perfect time of year to be sure your home is cozy, clean and dust free, winterized and buttoned up. Here?s a good checklist to help ensure that this season?s winter weather and cold air stays outside.
Important Items for Your Furnace
- Move materials away from the furnace, especially flammable materials. Never store around the furnace or the water heater. A flair up can burn your home down.
- Check your pilot light. If it is not lit, follow the instructions for relighting which are typically printed on access door. If you have any difficulty, call a qualified heating contractor for advice and help.
- Vacuum out any dust or debris in and around the unit, especially the blower. Replace the filter if needed. You should change filter once a month and have the furnace cleaned once a year.
- Check the flue for gaps or dents and make sure it is venting properly to the outdoors. Just check it out and make sure it looks normal.
- We recommend that you have your furnace professionally inspected each year by a qualified professional.
Things around Your House
- Set your programmable thermostat for winter. Have the heat come on before you wake up, turn down a little lower while your at work and then heat up again before you get home.
- Create a clear area around the heat registers by moving furniture, etc. Vacuum out all of the dust in the registers. They collect dust and dander that will be blown into the air you breath.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to keep extra batteries on hand.
- Check that your fire extinguisher is fully charged; replace if needed.
- Check windows and doors for drafts, and install weather stripping where it?s needed. Make sure they are shut all the way and locked for a better seal.
- Check your fireplace for soot or creosote build-up. Schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep.
Outside of Your Home
- Weather permitting, clear downspouts and gutters, and visually inspect the roof. Always keep yourself and any tool or equipment you may be using at least 10-feet away from overhead power lines.
- Shut off valves to outdoor faucets. Open spigots and drain and store hoses. DO NOT LEAVE HOSES HOOKED UP IN THE WINTER! They will freeze your faucet and it will break for sure!
- Take advantage of the sun?s warmth; trim back bushes and trees around your windows. Mow lawn, put away planters.
Don?t forget that Xcel Energy has cold weather rebates to help you keep your house warm this winter.
How to Find a Furnace Filter
1) Do I prefer a disposable filter that I can easily swap out each month or am I OK with taking the time to wash my filter every two to three months.
2) Does anyone living in my home have health issues that could be improved by cleaner air?
Disposable filters are more effective at filtering small particles from the air; washable filters cost less over time.
Spun Fiberglass Filters Cheap and disposable. Probably won?t filter out many finer particles.
Low and Mid-efficiency Pleated Filters Less cheap but still disposable. Pleated air filters hold on tighter to dust particles and can add unwanted resistance to airflow. Disposable filters are more effective at filtering small particles from the air; washable filters cost less over time.
Electrostatic Filters They have high filtration rates. If your household includes smokers and people with allergies you may prefer to use the disposable type of filter.
High-efficiency Pleated Filters The most expensive filter and will provide four to eight times the filtering capability of the spun fiberglass filters. These may be very helpful for those with respiratory problems or low-immunity disorders.