Is Your Home and Heating System Ready for Winter?

If you haven’t noticed summer has ended and fall is in the air with winter breathing down its neck. And that breath is likely going to be cold and the time to make sure your home is ready for the season is now, before it arrives. However, just thinking about the approaching cold weather won’t do you any good and when you turn up the heat and nothing happens it will be too late.

Just because you haven’t used you furnace all summer and it worked well last winter doesn’t mean it can be ignored. It’s important to have your unit checked before you need to turn up the thermostat to ensure it’s working efficiently and is safe for another season. It is recommended to have a heating repair technician check over the unit at least once a year and now is probably the best time.

Dust and other debris can build up in a furnace and having an expert come in and make sure it’s cleared out will help with the efficiency of your furnace. If you haven’t changed your furnace filters in a forced-air system now is the time to have it done.

A furnace that uses gas for heat needs to be checked to ensure the pilot light is working correctly and in many instances the technician will put in a new thermocouple during the pre-season inspection. When this small device goes bad the pilot light cannot stay lit and your furnace will not work. The technician will also make sure the chimney flue is working properly to make sure there’s no chance of carbon monoxide filtering into the home.

A hot water heating system, or baseboard heat, will need to be checked and serviced. Depending on the climate and where the water pipes are located, servicing may involve flushing the system and adding anti-freeze to make sure the pipes don’t freeze if left exposed.

If you have an underground sprinkler system in your yard you will want to have it emptied completely. Since these pipes are usually less than a foot below the surface any water left in them will freeze when the temperature drops.

If your home uses an in-ground septic system fall is the best time to have it pumped out. It can be difficult to have this done once winter sets in and snow and ice covers the ground. If you don’t have it cleaned every year, it should at least be looked at to make sure everything’s working before winter sets in.

While outside draining your sprinkler system take a look at your roof. Have it checked for loose or missing shingles. Also check that the gutters are clear and leaves aren’t blocking them. Once the snow falls it will build up on the edge of your roof and when the sun hits and it starts to melt there will be no place for the melted snow to go except either over the gutter or under the bottom layer of shingles.

Poor ventilation and water is a breeding ground for mold so you want to check areas in and around the home that are more likely to accumulate moisture. Basement walls and in crawl spaces as well as vents in the kitchen and bathroom where moisture can accumulate when the fans are used. Also, move all garden hoses indoors and shut off all outside water valves, If possible, close the valves leading to any outside spigots.

The garage can turn into a deadly gathering place for gases that can work their way in to the home. If you have an attached garage it may not be the best idea to warm up the car while it’s in the garage. Air from the garage can be drawn into the home including carbon monoxide as well as the fumes from any other chemicals you store in the garage such as gas for your snow blower, pesticides and fertilizer. All of these can prove harmful in the winter when stored in your attached garage.

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