When the Weather Changes

The weather is changing fast! Major Restoration services is here to provide you with some tips on getting your home ready for fall and winter. These tips will help make the inside of your home more efficient and it will help prevent mold and water damage during these rough months.

Cleaning

A very easy first step to getting ready for fall and winter is to clean your humidifiers and dehumidifiers. The air will start to get cold and dry and you may want to put a humidifier in, you can clean those very easily with vinegar and water. The bad part about putting a humidifier in is too much humidity may cause mold growth. The humidity in your home should not exceed more than 45%. This time of the year is hurricane season and the basement will get cold and damp. A good way to slow/stop mold growth is to have a dehumidifier. Don’t forget to clean your dehumidifier make sure to replace or wash the filter.

When was the last time you cleaned your furnace? You should clean it every autumn when you turn it   on for heating. If you don’t you could get a buildup of dust or sediment (depending on if your basement is finished or not) and it could become a fire hazard! I make it a habit to change the filter at this time of the year also. Make sure you also get your furnace inspected at the start of cold weather.  When was the last time your ductwork was cleaned? Think of all the dust and debris that has built up in your ductwork. If you have pets I would recommend having your ducts cleaned at least once every 4 to 5 years. Call Major Restoration Services and ask us about our duct cleaning.

 

Inspecting

The first thing you should inspect when you are getting your home ready for the cold is your doors and windows. Check for any drafts. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping. Check all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary. Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity. In older homes with single pane windows check the caulking around the window frames for cracks and shrinkage. If you are not able to fix your windows to keep cold air from coming in you could hang insulated curtains, seal the windows with 6 mil plastic or hang storm windows. You could get something to cover gaps in the bottom of your door. This helps a lot with your heating costs and keeping your home warm during chilly times.

Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. They can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra air filters and change them every few months.

You should also flush your hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order. Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater. Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.

Check your chimney and fireplace before you burn anything in it. It’s been awhile since it has been used, make sure they are safe to use still this season. If you are doing it yourself you’ll need to inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard. Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly. You can clean out any ash or soot in your fireplace. If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself hire a professional. They will be able to inspect and clean it the right way!

A big thing that people forget about is their hoses. Turn off any spigots and remove any hoses from outside. The pipes close to your outside walls can burst and, we see this a lot, your basement can fill with water. Some older homes even have a valve that you can turn off all your outside water. Also, depending on your climate, your irrigation system may need to be drained and checked. Have a professional perform any necessary repairs and mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.

Safety Precautions

Make sure you also test all your home safety devices! Test all of your fire alarms and your carbon monoxide detector. Since you will be spending much more time in the house you will need to make sure these are working.

A programmable thermostat may not be at the top of your list but it is a very good idea. You can program it to not only make your home more efficient but this way you can keep your heat on even if you go on vacation. You can program it to be at a low temperature but it is still on high enough that none of your pipes or windows freeze.

Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort. During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathroom.

Always have a fully-stocked emergency kit at hand. Include batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches and a lighter; warm clothes and blankets; a battery-powered radio; non-perishable food items and water (two liters per adult per day); a first-aid kit and specialty products like medicine, baby formula and pet food (if necessary). Store at least three days’ worth of supplies for everyone in your household.

The three main things you need to remember when getting your home ready for winter or fall is to clean, inspect, and follow all safety precautions. These things will help ensure that your home is warm and cozy for the chilly nights coming up!

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