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The cooling season is winding down, and it’ll soon be time to turn on the heat. No matter how efficient your heat pump or furnace is, an inefficient home will result in higher energy bills and less comfort. These essential fall maintenance tasks will help ensure the highest level of energy efficiency and comfort in your home this winter.
Schedule Your Annual Tune-Up
Over time, your heating system loses efficiency due to loosened belts and electrical and gas connections, dust buildup on essential components, and controls that get out of whack. Your annual preventive maintenance call addresses these and other issues that prevent the system from operating at optimal efficiency.
Stock Up on Air Filters
A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air to your heating system, which decreases its efficiency and can result in overheating and related damage. It also allows dust to enter the system and coat the heat exchanger, fan, and motor, possibly causing the early failure of these components. Check your air filter monthly. When you can no longer see the filter material beneath the dust, replace it with a good-quality, clean filter.
Seal Doors and Windows
When cold air infiltrates your home through gaps and cracks around windows and doors, your heating system has to work harder to compensate, increasing your energy bills and decreasing your comfort level. Seal around doors and windows with silicone caulk where the frames meet the wall, and install weatherstripping between the parts that move to keep cold air out and warm air inside.
Seal and Insulate Ductwork
In the typical home, between 20 and 40 percent of the conditioned air in the ducts leaks out before it reaches the rooms. Check the joints of your ductwork and seal those that are loose with mastic duct sealant or metal tape. If you have ducts that run through unconditioned areas like the attic or a crawlspace, insulate them to keep the air inside warm and to prevent condensation that can lead to mold and mildew growth.
Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan Blades
Ceiling fans help you feel cooler in the summer, but they can also help you feel warmer in the winter. Flip the switch at the top of your ceiling fans to reverse the direction of the blades, and keep them on the lowest setting to push down the warm air that gathers at the ceiling and distribute it throughout your rooms.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
It’s easy to forget to lower the thermostat before you go to bed or when you leave the house for an extended period of time. Setting back your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours can reduce your heating bills by up to 15 percent. A programmable thermostat allows you to preprogram settings based on when you’re at home or at work. When properly installed and programmed, this type of thermostat will go a long way toward lowering the energy bills associated with heating your home.
For more expert advice about preparing your home for cold weather, please feel free to contact us at Comfort Control, Inc.