How to Prepare Your Home for the Frosty Chill
In the early days of fall, it may be tough to think about icy weather being just around the corner. However, this is the time to prepare your home for that frosty Virginia chill. Maximize your enjoyment of the changing of the leaves and other favorite fall activities, but don’t forget to do some home maintenance to ensure that your heating system is ready to perform when the temperatures drop.
Optimize Your Heating System
HVAC maintenance involves much more than just changing your air filter. You should begin the heating season with a clean filter in place, and you’ll need to monitor its condition each month so that you don’t experience unexpected problems with overheating or restricted air movement. HVAC maintenance is akin to a physical at the doctor’s office. Your technician will thoroughly inspect your equipment to ensure that heating components are working properly. Additionally, your inspection will include:
- Testing of the thermostat
- Checking electronic components
- Inspection of venting equipment in combustion systems
- Evaluation of airflow and possible duct problems
- Lubrication of moving parts
A tune-up may result in the identification of repair issues that should be addressed prior to winter heating activity. This can often head off the possibility of a mid-winter system problem, and regular maintenance may also extend the life of your heating equipment.
Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can create icy zones in your house in spite of efficient home heating. Sealing materials can become brittle with age, making it important to inspect your windows, doors, and other potential draft locations to ensure that a timely update is made to any deteriorating caulk, silicone or weather stripping. Check basements and ceilings, too. If you’re dealing with stubborn drafts and leaks in spite of your best efforts to eliminate them, you may want to invest in a home performance evaluation to identify the sources of air leaks through thermal imaging.
Inspect Your Attic
Attic insulation can become soggy if you’ve experienced a roof leak during the year. You’ll want to check your insulation to be sure that it isn’t harboring mold or other objectionable materials. You can also consider supplementing the existing material with additional insulation if the floor joists of your attic are currently visible. At the same time, don’t overdo the insulation and impede attic ventilation as this could promote roof damage by facilitating ice dams when the snow falls. Make sure that soffit vents are clear, too, so that airflow isn’t hindered.
Program Your Thermostat
Consistency is critical in keeping your home comfortable during the winter. ENERGY STAR recommends beginning the day with a heating setting of below 70 degrees, but you can adjust if this doesn’t meet your family’s comfort needs. Reduce the settings for daytime and night temperature management. Use your morning setpoint for evening activities in the home.
The best preventive measures won’t always avert issues such as winter furnace repair, but regular HVAC maintenance can reduce the potential for problems and keep your heating bills in control. Call our team at Commonwealth Cooling & Heating to schedule an inspection of your home heating equipment today. We’re proud to serve Northern Virginia.
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