From Dean Dowd on October 26, 2007 in General Remodel
Chances are when winter comes along, you’ll spend a lot more evenings indoors cozying by the fire with a hot cup of tea. Our last blog was about making sure everything outside the house, from the roof to the gutters, was in tip-top shape to weather the coming storms. That preparation goes a long way in helping you feel secure when wind and sleet come banging against your walls like uninvited guests. With the majority of the autumn still ahead, theres still plenty of opportunity to gear up the rest of the house. Its the part most lived in: the indoors.
Perhaps the most appealing part of being home when its cold out is the comfort of staying warm. But even this is no guarantee when your heating system can go out on you at any moment. Fortunately there are easy maintenance measures you can take to prevent that from happening. Here are some of them:
- Have the furnace system and heating vents cleaned out.
- Replace the air filters. This should be done every year around this time.
- If you have a system that uses natural gas, check to make sure the pilot light is working. It should be blue.
- Check your thermostat to make sure its working. One way to do this is to compare its reading with a thermometer.
- Insulate your hot water heater with an insulating blanket.
- Water pipes will also be working harder to keep the hot water coming. Similar to what youve done with the heater, insulate water pipes with wraps or heat tape.
- If you have insulation under floors and in walls, you generally dont need to add more. Check unfinished attic areas, though, for an R value of at least 19-22.
After youve checked your heating systems, investigate doors and windows for gaps and cracks. These areas might need some new caulking or weather stripping. Also keep in mind that light curtains retain less heat than a heavier drape does. Other areas that may need fresh sealing are around electrical outlets and around loose faucets.
Now that you know youll be warm in the house, you can nearly guarantee having a comfortable winter indoors. There are only a few steps left, and these involve safety. Before you breath heated, unventilated air all day, you will want a chimney inspector to check your chimney, not just for cracks, but for creosote. When creosote accumulates, it can be hazardous enough to start a fire. Speaking of potential fires, make sure your carbon monoxide detector is installed and your smoke detector has batteries. Afterwards, get your fuzzy slippers ready and keep your marshmallows stocked for that cocoa. Youve earned some winter downtime.
More Helpful Links to Prepare You for Winter