You don't have to spend every day of the winter season fighting the weather and wishing it would go away. Winter can be much more enjoyable when you are adequately prepared for the elements. There is a list of things you should do before the cold weather to ensure that you and your family have a safe and comfortable season.
1. When it's cold, the home appliance that you depend on most is your HVAC system. That's why you shouldn't wait until the last minute to have it serviced. You should receive furnace service in the fall before the cold weather kicks in, and then again in the spring to check for issues that occurred from constant use. Plus, you should be changing your filters about every three months. See to it that your furnace repair expert does the following:
- Inspects the gas or oil connections for problems. Checks for leaks in gas line.
- If you have a gas furnace, restocks the gas supply for the winter.
- Checks out the burners for cracks or dirt.
- Changes the air filter and shows you how to clean it properly.
- Checks that the controls and the thermostat are functioning properly.
- Lubricates moving parts for optimal functioning.
- Checks combustion chambers to remove any blockages or air flow.
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2. The next important winter preparation step is performing roof repair. Your roof's condition can actually impact the overall function of your furnace, so, just as the leaves are starting to change their colors, you should be making plans to have roof maintenance as well. If you have some basic handyman skills, you can complete some of these on your own. However, its best to have a technician come out and:
- Clean chimney flashing, drains and gutters of debris
- Remove branches or debris from the roof
- Check all interior and exterior walls for leaks or staining
- Install insulation in attic, if necessary
Also, it's a good idea to buy a long brush or rake in which you can remove loose debris or snow from the roof as the weather gets colder. Debris or puddles can weaken the roof structure if left in place for too long
3. Take these additional winter precautions just in case the weather quickly gets cold and icy:
- Stocking up on batteries and flashlights in case of a bad storm
- Compiling an emergency kit with medications, first aid, phone numbers, and a battery-powered radio
- Stocking up on canned (or easy to prepare) foods and an extended supply of water
- Keeping important personal documents such as insurance policies and birth certificates within reach if needed
If you follow these three steps in advance of the cold weather, you will find that the winter season can be a time of comfort and wonder. Don't let the onset of winter catch you unprepared--begin readying your house by fall.