Before the mercury drops, mark these items off your home to-do list
Heating & Cooling
Change your air filter monthly. “One of the leading causes of break downs are dirty air filters,” says Brandon Brown of Browns Heating and Air. He suggests setting a reminder on your phone for the first of the month to change filters. This will help your system work better and easier overall.
Line up a full system maintenance. This will clean your system inside and out. “A normal home HVAC system runs more than a car does per year and needs to be cleaned and maintained like a car needs its oil changed,” says Brown.
Fill gas or oil tanks. Do this now, “before cold hits and prices go up,” Brown says. It’s also a good idea to check on your gas logs and get them serviced if needed.
Have your ducts professionally cleaned. Brown says this is suggested for older systems that have been installed for a while. “This gets rid of all dust, dirt, mold spores and toxins in the duct system you breathe,” he says.
Check your roof for damaged shingles. According to All Phase Roofing and Construction, while roof damage happens throughout the year, the rough winter seasons in Lynchburg can be especially tough on your roof. Repairing damaged shingles now can prevent leakage once snow starts falling.
Clean and repair your gutters. This task needs to happen after all of the leaves have fallen and when temperatures are still above freezing. “If you [miss] cleaning gutters in the fall, you may have issues going into winter,” says The Brothers that just do Gutters on its website. “These issues are not always evident in the winter because your gutter is frozen, but during the first thaw they’ll show. The excess debris in your gutters that was not cleaned prior to winter will result in a sort of debris popsicle within your gutter system.”
Check around your windows and doors for air leaks. If needed, seal the leaks with caulk to keep out the cold air.
Inspect and clean your chimney to prevent fires. Statistics show dirty chimneys cause approximately 22,000 house fires each winter. Have a certified professional inspect your chimney annually, and make sweeps or repairs.
Store unused lawn care equipment. Local realtor and home renovation expert Dan Vollmer says whether it’s a mower or a trimmer, you should drain all of the gas before you put the equipment away.
Remove and store window screens. This is something else Vollmer does to prevent future, often costly, repairs. “Sometimes the weight of snow can stretch them out,” he says.
Replace smoke detector and CO detector batteries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, house fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six house fires.