Cooler weather means it’s time for football, hayrides and pumpkins. Dropping temperatures also signal that it’s time to tackle the fall maintenance projects that ensure your home is ready for winter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating expenses account for 45 percent of home energy costs. Why waste money on high fuel bills when you could put it into your child’s education fund or toward your dream vacation? Undertaking a few fall maintenance tasks now will help you control your heating expenses and ensure you have a safe, comfortable winter.
Perform HVAC Maintenance
Jack Frost nipping at your nose might be delightful when you’re on a winter hike, but you don’t want him nipping at your toes while you entertain guests. Regular HVAC maintenance guarantees your heating system will deliver the warmth you need when you need it. Fall HVAC maintenance tasks include the following:
- Check filters. Dirty air filters increase energy costs by 5 percent.
- Clear away leaves and debris from your outdoor heat pump.
- Schedule a furnace tune-up.
Clean Your Ducts and Free Up the Flow
Since air ducts are usually hidden in concealed spaces, the adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ often applies. However, dirty air ducts affect your comfort and your checkbook. If mold or other bacteria inhabit your ductwork, the air picks up the spores and distributes them throughout your home; these contaminants can be re-circulated up to seven times a day.
Uneven airflow caused by debris buildup creates cold spots, leaving you shivering in some rooms and uncomfortably warm in others. Duct cleaning removes accumulated dirt, promotes even airflow and improves air quality. In addition to duct cleaning, there are several other ways to improve air flow in your home:
- Seal air duct leaks. Typically, 20 to 30 percent of conditioned air is lost because of leaks; this means your hard-earned money is literally disappearing into thin air.
- Make sure furniture, drapes or other items don’t block registers.
- Clean ceiling fan blades.
- Clean exhaust vents in the kitchen, stove hood and dryer.
Conduct Home Repairs
Sealing your home properly can shrink your heating bill by 20 percent. Taking care of basic home repairs in the fall avoids potentially expensive nightmares come winter. The following tips will let you sleep better when the winter winds sweep in:
- Inspect the insulation in your attic, crawlspace, ceilings and floors for moisture damage.
- Caulk and weatherstrip around windows, doors and appliance vents. Leaky doors and windows can account for up to 25 percent of your heating bill.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Replace missing roofing shingles or tiles; seal gaps around the flashing and repair damaged areas in the chimney mortar.
- Clean the chimney to remove built-up creosote. Statistics from the Chimney Institute of America show residential chimney fires cause more than $30 million in property loss each year.
- Check the crawlspace for mold or pest infestations.
Another thing you should do before winter hits is call a professional and get your system checked. The specialists at Brettco Service Company can help you with that. We’ve proudly served the Greater Beaumont area for more than 15 years.