If you live in a northern climate, you can expect winter to bring snow, ice, and sometimes extreme freezing temperatures. Throughout the winter, it is a good idea to do all you can to ensure your home remains warm and keep that warmth from escaping your home to save on your energy bill. Here are some tips to prepare your home for freezing weather and to help keep your home's warmth inside.
Inspect and Maintain Furnace
One of the first things you should do during fall, before the winter weather arrives, is to check to make sure your furnace is ready to work well. When you don't get your furnace inspected and tuned up, there is a chance it will stop working during a cold time of the year when you need it most. Doing your diligence is important to check your furnace to make sure all its components are working well before you and your family have to rely upon it.
There are some simple maintenance tasks you can and should do yourself to inspect and maintain your furnace. Before you turn on your furnace for fall, check the filter to make sure it is clean. If the filter is dirty, you should replace or clean it if it is reusable. Clear the area around the cool air intake vent and also around all heating vents around inside your home. If the vents are blocked by furniture or other items, they will disrupt the efficiency of your heating system.
Next, have a professional heating and air conditioning service to complete a full inspection and perform maintenance on your system to clean it and make sure all components are ready to run properly. As part of the inspection, your HVAC professional will check for any gas leaks if your system runs on gas, and they will check the burner assembly and clean it if it is dirty. If your burner assembly is dirty, it cannot properly ignite to warm your living space, and your furnace will not work.
The heating system technician will also make sure the ignition system and heating elements or heat exchanger are working right. If your system includes a dehumidifier, they will check and clean the drain pan and condensation drain lines. Checking and cleaning all vital areas of your heating system are included with most professional tune-ups.
Install and Use Window Treatments
Although curtains are commonly considered as a way to keep your home cool during the summer, they can also help you keep your home's warmth inside your home. Curtains or draperies are a great way to add insulation to the interior of your windows. In fact, closing curtains on your home's windows during cold temperatures can reduce heat loss by as much as ten percent.
If you have windows that are double paned or coated to make them energy efficient, they are more helpful for keeping your home's heat inside, but you can add curtains to boost their energy efficiency. It is best to hang curtains that are lined with a thick, woven fabric, which traps the air between the layers and creates insulation. If you don't have curtains with a lining, you can place two curtains together to create a double-layered curtain. Make sure your curtains hang all the way to the floor or hang inside your window sill and sit as closely to your window as possible to prevent heat from transferring.
Manage your curtains to keep heat inside your home by closing the curtains at night when the temperature outside drops. You should also close them against windows that don't receive direct sunlight during the day. The insulation of the curtains will help prevent your home's heat from escaping. Then, during the day, open the curtains on any south- and west-facing windows to let the sun's rays shine into your home. This will help heat your home from the sun's solar heat gain.