Every year around this time, I like to post some tips to help out homeowners prepare for the coming winter. So without further ado... A typical home is supposed to exhale about 33% of its air every hour, sparing your lungs from mold, dust and other tiny invaders. But realistically it's estimated that most homes, especially older homes, on the average vent approximately 45% - 65% of it's air every hour. Here are a few things you can do around your home to help make it winter-proof:
- a cheap and effective way to target air leaks in your home is to wait for a breezy day outside, light an incense stick, and move it around all your doors, windows and fireplace. You will be able to notice the stream of smoke flowing to wherever the draft is, and then correct as necessary.
- there is nothing better you can do than have a professional service come and check out your furnace or heat pump system to make sure it is fit to handle the upcoming cold temperatures.
- perhaps the most valuable thing you can have done by the aforementioned professional service is have them inspect your heat exchanger for cracks. A cracked heat exchanger is dangerous in that it is a leading cause of carbon monoxide in the home. This is one of the first things that our technicians here at Environmental Heating & Air check when we inspect your system.
- make sure there are no items that are flammable located anywhere near your furnace.
- change your filters regularly.
- when you first turn on your heat there will probably be a fairly strong odor which is completely normal, but if strange smells continue to arise, shut down your system immediately and notify the professionals.
- your ceiling fan, believe it or not, is one of the best heat distributors you can use in your home. Just flip the switch on your ceiling fan so that it pushes air up instead of the normal down airflow. This is great because it will force the warm air that rises to your ceiling to keep moving about the room. This can save on heating costs and it cuts down on the condensation that occurs on windows and glass doors.
- no matter how old or new your gas furnace is, BUY A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR! It could save you and your family's lives.
- your nice, new heating system won't make much of a difference if your insulation isn't up to par! A well insulated home can save you a ton of money on heating costs. Generally, R-30 insulation is the minimum a home should have. Of course this depends on the location and age of your home, newer homes will have R-30 or better insulation while older homes might not, it's a good idea to check.
- finally, it would also be a good idea to check the weather stripping on all of your windows and doors. You'll want to replace it if it looks old and cracked or there is an abundance of gaps.