Winter Weather Tips for Your Home

Hot Tips to Keep You Out of the Cold

With winter weather just around the corner, now is the time to make sure your heating system will keep you out of the cold. Proper care can keep your unit running efficiently this winter and help you avoid costly repairs.

Most heating systems require very little owner maintenance. However, operating a dirty furnace can result in an unnecessary loss of efficiency and can damage the furnace. You play a vital role in making sure your heating system operates at peak performance.

Although it's best for a qualified service technician to handle major maintenance on your furnace, service experts say there are a few procedures you can do at the beginning of each heating season to ensure a more comfortable winter.

  • Before performing any maintenance, turn off the unit and wait for the blower to stop.
  • Always replace air filters at the beginning of the heating season and check them monthly throughout the winter. Dirty filters should be replaced to prevent equipment from working harder, which results in energy waste and possible internal damage. Inspect the blower compartment before each heating season. Use a vacuum to remove any dirt or dust, which can result in improper performance and low-efficiency.
  • Remove clutter from around the furnace. Items stored near the furnace are a fire hazard. They may also obstruct combustion air supply. This could cause incomplete combustion and the production of carbon monoxide gas.
  • Occasionally check the chimney and flue pipe connections for tightness, blockages or loose connections. If you think they need to be cleaned or repaired, call your Airflow service representative.
  • Listen for unfamiliar noises. Set the thermostat on "HEAT" and move the setting above room temperature. If you repeatedly hear any new or unfamiliar sounds while your unit is operating, there may be a problem. Poorly performing burners can produce unfamiliar noises.
  • Pay close attention to unusual odors. If you smell any unusual odors, your unit may be operating improperly. Units may emit unfamiliar odors if components are operating in abnormal conditions.
  • Look for visible signs of a malfunctioning unit. Examples include unusual amounts of moisture on windows inside your home, visibly burnt components, or unusual dirt or rust accumulations on the vent pipe or in the unit.
  • Don't hesitate to get medical attention if you experience headache, nausea, fatigue or dizziness. These could be symptoms that you are being exposed to carbon monoxide gas. This is often misdiagnosed as the flu because the symptoms are similar. If you suffer from flu-like symptoms that are exaggerated at home, but seem to subside while you are away from the house, exposure to carbon monoxide gas could be the cause.
  • It's also important to have an Airflow service representative check your furnace annually. There are several items they need to inspect to make sure your furnace is functioning properly. They can also provide information about low-cost, preventative maintenance agreements.

Common Sense Money Saving Tips for the Winter

  • Bundle up! You can keep the house a few degrees cooler by wearing warmer clothes inside. We suggest cozy blankets, slippers, and a sweatshirt.
  • Many doors and windows go unused during the winter (patio and basement doors, spare room windows, etc), so consider covering them in plastic to prevent drafts. Window kits are sold at your local hardware/home supply stores for about $5 a window. Can't get to the store? Grab some old blankets and insulate.
  • Turn the heat down when no one is home. Turning it down to 60-65 while you're away saves money and means you don't heat an empty house.
  • After using the oven, leave the door open a crack to let heat warm your kitchen and the surrounding rooms.
  • Use a space heater in the room you are using. This will take the nip out of the air without heating the rest of your home.
  • Pick up some caulk or silicone from the hardware store and fill any cracks in doors and windows, and basement floors and walls. Heat escapes quickly through cracks and the small ones you see can add up!
  • Close vents and doors to rooms not used regularly (spare guest rooms, patios, etc). Doing so can easily cut 100-200 square feet off your energy footprint and bill.
  • Put weather stripping around windows and doors. You'd be surprised how the seals around your doors and windows can deteriorate over time.
  • Cover the attic entry with old blankets, weather stripping, plastic, etc. Anything will help slow down the warm air from floating away through your roof.