Millions of households have been blessed this season with unusually warm weather holding over much of North America and the rest of the world. This spell of relatively pleasant temperatures could be whisked away overnight with a mean cold front, however, so preparations ought to still be made to ensure a comfortable winter. Homeowners have a number of tasks to undertake but nothing which can't be planned out and pulled off over a weekend.
Need help getting started? Here's a checklist to follow:
Check the equipment before it gets bad out there
HVAC services are a seasonal business. Downtime during warm spells means most of them are sitting around looking for work. Thus now is the time to have HVAC heating and cooling technicians inspect the system before winter weather sneaks up. Waiting too long means waiting longer than necessary for repairs and paying too much in the process.
Many people assume home ductwork is designed to be leak proof from the start and only break down with time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ducts are often loosely bolted together and the joints covered in a layer of-you guessed it-duct tape. When the tape goes bad the heating and cooling lose their effect. Leaky ductworks account for nearly 20% of the utility bill during summers and winters. Go around checking out the ductwork tightening joints and applying a fresh layer of tape.Adjust fans
Ceiling fans can go clockwise and counterclockwise with the flip of a switch on their sides. Clockwise motion pushes warmer air downward, helping to heat the room. When summer eventually arrives simply switch it back to counterclockwise for sucking warm air up away from the floor.
Seal doors and windows
Similar to ductwork, doors and windows which allow air to break through can contribute to the high cost of heating. Unlike ducts, old fashioned duct tape usually doesn't do the trick. Instead it's a good policy to install temporary foam crack sealers in door jams and around window sills. These act to block out the cold air, keep in the warm air, and can be easily removed with minimal residue.
Factor in humidity
Assuming all the previous steps have been taken it's time to focus on maintaining humidity. Sealing in the heat has a negative effect of drying out the air within a home. To combat this, humidifiers are the obvious go-to, but not everyone has the benefit of owning one let alone several to humidify a home. Air drying wet clothes from the washer indoors near vents is an alternative which does wonders to add some much needed moisture to the air. Simply spraying water from a bottle over air vents with the heat on can also accomplish this goal successfully, albeit tediously.
The unusually warm winter will not last forever. At some point we're going to be hit by nasty, bitter cold weather. Homeowners-are you ready? If not it's better to get a handle on it now while the weather looks good rather than wait before it's too late.