There are several things you can do yourself before the first snowflake falls to help you save on utility bills and keep your home and family safe.
Keeping your furnace in top condition is vital during the colder months. To reduce the risk of failure, call Artisan Plumbing Heating & Cooling for a tune up. For under $100, we make sure the unit is clean, replace filters and check for any carbon monoxide leaks. Replacing an older thermostat with a programmable one is something you can take care of to save on heating costs and you may be eligible for a free smart thermostat typically (valued at $249) through the NJNG Save Green Project. Outside central air conditioning units should be covered to protect against snow and ice. Window units should be removed or covered with inexpensive, insulated liners to eliminate drafts.
Windows & Doors
Preventing air leaks around windows and doors will increase comfort and lower heating bills. Examine and replace any rotted wood frames, add or replace weather stripping and caulk inside and out.
Roofs & Gutters
Water leaks and ice dams can cause devastating damage. Accumulated snow, combined with attic air leaks, can cause icicles to form or dam. Warming temperatures can allow melting water to flow into your house and cause structural damage. Consider installing an electric ice melt system to prevent ice from forming and allowing water to safely drain off the roof into gutters and downspouts. Don't forget to add extensions to downspouts to carry excess runoff away from the foundation. Falling leaves and branches can plug window well drains and overflow through basement windows. Remove all debris, make sure the drain is clear and install clear, plastic covers to provide additional protection.
Exterior Faucets & Hoses
Don't forget to disconnect all garden hoses, drain water from the faucets and turn off the shut-off valve in the basement. This will prevent your pipes from bursting as the ice expands. Your sprinkler service should be turn off and drained to ensure it is protected from freezing.
Fireplaces & Gas Stoves
Just like your furnace, your fireplace or gas-burning stove should be checked to be sure vents are clean and are in good working order. Wood-burning fireplace chimneys should be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. This will prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.
With many homes including paddle fans in their homes to provide a comfortable temperature year-round, you'll want to reverse the blades to operate in a clockwise direction. This will allow the updraft created by the fan to push the hotter ceiling air down, into the room. This will help in areas with cathedral ceilings and may even allow you to reduce the room temperature.
By spending a little extra time incorporating these tips into your winter preparation routine, you and your family should be safe and comfortable through the harshest conditions ahead and more time enjoying the holidays.