Skip to main content

Getting your home ready to brave the winter months ahead

So the mercury is dropping outside and the days are shorter than ever. What can you do now to ensure that your family is safe and cozy between now and when the daffodils start to bloom next spring?

Your Chimneys won’t Sweep Themselves

If you have a fireplace, you should have your chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep every year. Creosote is the black flammable tar that is deposited on the inside of your chimney from wood smoke. Allowing creosote to build up can cause a chimney fire if not properly addressed. There could also be other debris in the chimney that should be cleared; who knows what your neighborhood squirrels and birds have been up to since last winter?

Even if you don’t have a fireplace, but your heating source is gas, propane or oil, then your furnace has a chimney that should be checked yearly. Funny story, when we bought our home, the previous owners hadn’t lived there in a while. The very first time we turned our heat on, the whole downstairs filled with smoke- a helpful bird had built a nest inside the furnace chimney, of all places. Great excitement was had by all!

Have your heater serviced

Whether the heating system in your home is electric, propane, natural gas, or heating oil, having your heater serviced each year will ensure that it’s running at peak efficiency. Any licensed HVAC technician should be able to do this, and they will probably replace some minor parts, like gaskets, to make sure that your heater is in tip top shape. Our previous encounter with the birds’ nest in the heater chimney would have been prevented had we had the heater serviced prior to turning it on.

Get out your Caulk Gun

Check for any drafts around windows and doors, and seal them caulk. You can also check around where pipes come into the house and caulk around them as well.

Check your ceiling fans

Did you know that the vast majority of ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction in which the blades turn? During the summer, the blades create cool downward air flow. During the winter, the blades should redistribute the warm air near the ceiling. Mind-blowing, right? Check your manufacturer’s instructions (aka go onto Google because seriously who keeps those things?) to see which way the blades on your particular fan should turn. And while you’re up there flipping that switch, clean those fan blades because those things get seriously filthy!

Guard against the Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is no joke, especially in the winter when homes tend to be tightly closed with little ventilation. Make sure that you have working carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home, and outside each bedroom. Most carbon monoxide detectors are combined with a smoke detector. While detection is key, knowing how to avoid it entirely is even better. Make sure that your heater and fireplace are well maintained. A blocked flue or chimney can cause carbon monoxide to build up indoors. And NEVER run a generator inside your home, in the garage, or in an enclosed porch.

These relatively inexpensive and easy maintenance items should make a big difference in keeping your family safe and warm this winter as well as reducing your heating costs.

Have any other tips for getting your home ready for winter? I’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply