Cold weather is on its way to southeastern Texas. To help you get ready for that cold front, we found a few tips we'd like to share.
Tune Up Your Heating System
For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan's blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).
This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings -- and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.
Hit the Roof
Or at least scan it closely with binoculars. Look for damaged, lose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms. If your roof is flat and surfaced with asphalt and pebbles, rake or blow off fall leaves and pine needles, which hold moisture,
Caulk Around Windows and Doors
If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements. Add weather-stripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
Clean the Gutters
If your gutters are full of leaves, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim. Also look for missing or damaged gutters and fascia boards and repair them.
Don't Prune Trees or Shrubs Until Late-Winter
You may be tempted to get out the pruning shears after the leaves fall, when you can first see the underlying structure of the plant. But horticulturalists advise waiting to prune until late winter for most plants, when they've been long dormant and just before spring growth begins.
Call a Chimney Sweep
Before you burn that Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.
Check your home's exterior doors for cold air leaks. Do this from inside the house. The high-tech approach is to use a laser infrared thermal gun to detect cold drafts. The low-tech way is to move a lit candle around the door frame; the flame will blow toward you in a draft.
Seal a drafty door by installing foam or felt weather-stripping inside the door frame. Ask at your hardware store for the correct products and installation instructions.
Leave the Thermostat Alone
You can enjoy fuel savings for free simply by setting your thermostat to one temperature in the morning, another at night and otherwise leaving the thermostat alone. If you're chilly, put on a sweater and warm socks instead of raising the heat.
Change Furnace Filters Monthly
Dirty furnace filters reduce furnace efficiency and push up heating bills. They also shorten the life of a furnace.
Check and replace the furnace filter monthly in winter or every three months while the system is in operation. Your owner's manual will tell you where it's located. Hold the filter up to the light: If you can't see light through it, you need a new one.
Dean and Draper
We hope that you will enjoy our falling temperatures in the next couple of weeks. We’re ready for a little cool weather, too. If you have questions about your insurance coverage or would like more information about insurance, please call us.
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The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.
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