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Despite the glorious fall weather we’ve had in Oregon this year, winter is still coming. While you won’t need to fight off white-walkers (maybe just a yeti or two), you will need to fight off the damage that wet winter weather can do to your home – and your pocketbook.
Wind, rain, hail, and freezing can damage your home and cost you money in repairs and unnecessary energy expenditures. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to winterize your home before bad weather hits.
Check your furnace. Before you turn on that furnace for the first time this winter, have an HVAC professional come check it out and give it a tune-up. They’ll make sure your furnace is running efficiently and safely.
Your HVAC professional can also check your ducts to make sure they are clean and leak-free. Losing that precious warm air into your attic or crawl space before it even warms your home can make a significant dent on your heating bill.
At the minimum, make sure you replace your furnace’s air filter. A dirty filter impedes airflow, reduces efficiency, and could even cause a fire in an extreme case.
Have an oil or propane service plan. Don’t find yourself without heating oil or propane in the middle of a storm. A convenient service plan like one from Carson won’t leave you in the cold when you need your heat most. Plus, you’ll benefit from payment plans to fit your budget and prioritized service when you do have an issue.
Reverse your ceiling fans. Switching your fans to run clockwise can help you make more efficient use of your heater. Running the ceiling fans during the winter will push warm air down and force it to recirculate throughout the room.
Block drafts. Cold drafts are well, drafty. Plus, they can cause you to waste up to 30 percent of your energy use. Window caulking, weather stripping, and a simple rolled-up towel at the bottom of a door can help keep warm air inside where you want it.
Insulate your attic. Well-insulated attic spaces can prevent heat transfer from living areas. Check parts of the attic that may not be well insulated – like pipes and vents, chimney systems, and light fixtures. Also, be sure to insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of rising heat.
Avoid freezing pipes. Water damage from broken pipes is one of the primary culprits when it comes to winter weather home damage. A frozen pipe is at risk of bursting – which could cost you big bucks.
Fair-weather items like garden hoses and AC equipment should be drained of moisture and stored for the winter. If you have an in-ground irrigation system, make sure it’s drained, and the sprinkler pipes are blown out.
If there’s a real cold-snap, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes – particularly under sinks and appliances near exterior walls. A slow trickle of water from faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces can help avoid freezing. Also, don’t let your thermostat dip below 55-degrees – even if you’re out.
Your Roof and Gutters
Clean your gutters. High winds, ice, and moisture from winter storms can easily damage the roof and gutters, exposing your home to serious damage. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working correctly. Water starts pooling in mini reservoirs and begins to seep into your house, causing water damage.
Inspect your roof. Inspect your roof, shutters, siding, and other exterior materials to ensure they’re clean and secure, so snow and ice don’t have a place to accumulate. Even though moss may look pretty, on roof shingles, it can do damage in the spaces between shingles where the spores collect. Moss on a roof acts as a sponge, soaking up and storing rainwater and then saturating the roof sheathing below.
Trim your trees. Overgrown tree branches in heavy storms are a risk to your home, vehicles, and loved ones – as well as that of your neighbor. If there are long tree branches hanging near your house, your roof, or your gutters, prune them before it gets too cold.
Get your chimney inspected. Thousands of fires each winter originate in chimneys. Consider having a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney. They’ll check the structure of your flue and remove any combustibles or obstructions in your chimney, so you won’t set more than your yule log on fire.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When you’re running their furnaces and boilers overtime to keep warm, more harmful combustibles can accumulate in closed spaces. To keep your family safe, check the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change them if needed.
Carson is one of the leading heating oil and propane providers in the Northwest. Our HVAC professionals can even help you convert from oil heat to natural gas. When you become a customer of Carson’s family-owned and operated business, you become part of the Carson family. If you’re ready for service that goes above and beyond, we’ll never leave you out in the cold. Contact 800.998.7767 or your local Carson branch to find out which Carson heating oil or residential propane plan is right for you this winter.