5 Things To Do To Keep Your Home Warm During Winter
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December 11, 2016
With the cold weather upon us it’s time to do these five things to keep warm and save on your heating bills.
Windows and doors should be weather-stripped. This prevent drafts and energy loss.
To weather-strip windows and doors, you need to keep them open for a while, so it’s best to do this before the weather gets too cold. If some of your windows and doors are not protected by weather-stripping, now is the time to seal them up. Buy inexpensive vinyl or foam weather-stripping and apply it as directed.
Also, make sure to install tight storm windows and doors to keep heat inside and cold outside.
If you have the kind of screen-and-storm doors that contain interchangeable screen and glass panels, switch out screens for glass. Before you install the panels, check and tighten the clips that secure them. Also, check and, if necessary, adjust the storm door closer so that it pulls the storm door tightly closed without banging it.
FLUSH THE WATER HEATER
When the weather gets cold, so does the water that travels through outdoor pipes to supply your water heater.
As a result the water heater has to work longer to heat that very cold water. So water heater efficiency becomes really important. The best way to keep a water heater working efficiently is to flush it once or twice a year. Mineral deposits build up over time and coat the bottom of the tank, reducing the efficient transfer of heat from the burners at the base. Flushing out some of the water helps remove these deposits.
To flush a water heater, turn off the heat, either at the gas valve of a gas water heater or by shutting off an electric water heater’s electrical power. Then turn off the valve at the cold-water inlet pipe, usually right above the water heater. Locate the faucet-like drain valve in the side of the water heater at its base, attach a garden hose to it and run the end of the hose outdoors, terminating at a point that’s lower than the water heater. Turn on a nearby hot water faucet to allow air into the plumbing system, and then open the water heater’s drain valve to flush sediment out through the hose. Drain about 3 or 4 gallons of hot water until it becomes visibly clear, and then close the valve.
Reverse this process to refill and reheat the water heater.
In other words, disconnect the hose, turn off the nearby hot water faucet, turn on the water supply to the water heater and wait a few minutes for the water heater to refill.
For an electric water heater, turn the power back on, or for a gas water heater, turn on the gas and, unless it is a pilotless model, relight the pilot light.
CHECK YOUR HOME HEATING SYSTEM
Set your thermostat to “heat” and turn it up about 5 degrees warmer than room temperature. If you find that heat doesn’t go on and stay on until the room reaches the set temperature, either the thermostat or the heating system has a problem.
If this happens then place the thermostat batteries. Then try again.
If you feel that the thermostat is defective, then replace it with a new programmable model that can likely reduce your energy costs. If you find that the thermostat is functional, or replacing it doesn’t help, then call your HVAC professional to check and service the heating system.
Change the air filters. They’re typically located in the furnace’s air handler or inside the return-air registers in the rooms. If you’re having a pro work on your system, let them do it for you. Clean filters clean the air and make the entire system work more efficiently.
When checking for warm air through the registers — make sure dampers and registers are all open so the heated air can flow freely into each room. If your home’s heating system is powered by fuel that is stored on the premises, such as propane or fuel oil, be sure you have enough for the entire season.
PREPARE THE FIREPLACE
If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, stock-up on firewood.
Now inspect the fireplace. Shine a flashlight up into the chimney. Make sure the damper works — then open it.
Check to be sure birds or rodents haven’t nested in the chimney. Inspect the chimney walls. If they’re coated with creosote, a sap-like material that builds-up on surfaces, have the chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. Creosote can cause a chimney fire. Also, inspect for missing bricks, crumbling mortar or broken chimney flue tiles that need to be fixed.
PROTECT WATER PIPES
If you live where outdoor temperatures can drop below freezing — you must protect water pipes that run through unheated spaces, such as an attic or crawlspace.
To do this, you can buy inexpensive foam pipe insulation sleeves at a home improvement center. These are sliced along their lengths so you can just push them onto pipes. While you’re in the plumbing department of the home improvement center, also buy an inexpensive emergency pipe repair clamp to keep on hand just in case a water pipe bursts.
Hopefully these five tips help you stay warm and save money.
Feel free to stop into Builder Supply Outlet with any home improvement questions you may have or call us anytime at 1-708-343-3900.