The days are growing cooler and winter will arrive sooner than some of us would like. This is a good time to call an HVAC expert to make an annual check on your heating system and perform any necessary maintenance.  Here are some additional ways to ensure your home is ready for winter.

    1. Seal it upEven if you have the most effective HVAC system money can buy, your home will still feel cold if cracks allow heat to escape and cold air to come in. If you have an older home the chance of cracks being present is high, which means you’ll need to find and seal them before you lose the heat you’re paying for. To uncover problematic areas, close all your windows and doors and walk through your home with a candle. If it flickers around one of these spots, it may be the source of your leak.
    2. Inspect your chimneyIf you love to light a fire on a cold winter night, be sure to have your chimney inspected long before winter arrives. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned every year if they’re used often.
    3. Check your treesAre there any large, old trees close to your home? If so, you may want to have those inspected as well. Snow and ice can cause branches to double or triple in weight. Having them checked now may save you dealing with a large branch through your window later.
    4. Head to the atticOne of the main places heat can escape from your home is through the attic, so have the insulation checked to see if it’s up to par. The rule of thumb on attic insulation is that if you can see the rafters, you’ll need more insulation. Over time fiberglass insulation breaks down and can compact. When insulation compacts, the R value (or insulation value) drastically decreases.
    5. Consider the age of your HVAC systemIf you have an HVAC system  that’s more than 10 years old you should consider replacing it. A new, more energy-efficient system could cut back on your heating costs and help keep your home warmer than your current system.
    6. Stock upIf you live in an area where major storms are an issue, consider purchasing some emergency supplies in case of a blizzard. This includes canned food, flashlights, a first aid kit and batteries. Don’t forget bottled water: One gallon of water can save a family of four in an emergency situation.
    7. Fix the roofHave you been putting off taking care of a problem with your roof? If so, now is the time to fix it. When winter arrives, it may be too dangerous to get a contractor to get up there to address the trouble.
    8. Check your detectorsBetween fires in the chimney and that fancy Thanksgiving dinner you may be cooking, you’ll want to make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in case any fire-related emergency occurs this winter. Remember — carbon monoxide has no smell and has only a few side effects that most people dismiss until it’s too late, such as headaches, nausea, and sleepiness. Install a detector in every room. Carbon monoxide is heavier than air, so get a detector that plugs into the wall and place it low, not high like you would a smoke detector.
    9. Get some blanketsKeep plenty of warm blankets around your home throughout the cold season. Not only are blankets cozy, but if you can get your family to use them often you may be able keep your thermostat low and save yourself some cash.
    10. Call a heating and cooling professionalThe importance of having your heating system serviced before winter can’t be stressed enough. HVAC specialists often get overwhelmed with calls in the colder months, so have any problems fixed now, not later.

Your local One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating® technicians are ready to help. Give us a call to schedule your annual furnace tune-up. We’ll inspect your heating system and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your equipment is in safe working order when you need it most.