It is crucial to have an efficient heating system for winter, but how? This guide shows 7 steps to having a warm home this winter.
If you live in Michigan, you know a thing or two about cold winters. Our state has the distinction of being number two on the list of states with the worst winters, just behind Minnesota.
Luckily, here at Mrs. Michael HVAC Technicians, we know a lot about helping your home stay warm throughout the winter months. The leaves may be falling from the trees now, but this is the time to start prepping your home for those inevitable cold temperatures. Here are ten steps you want to take now to ensure you enjoy a warm home this winter.
1. Have Your Heating System Serviced
The last thing anyone wants on a cold winter day is a non-functioning furnace, boiler, or heat pump. No matter what you use to warm your home, make sure it will run smoothly this winter by having an HVAC company inspect the equipment and perform any routine maintenance work.
If your equipment is very old, it may also require replacement parts or may need to be replaced entirely. A heating system professional will give advice on how to upgrade it and help prevent you from waking up to a cold home when you least expect it.
Changing the furnace filter will help it perform more efficiently during the winter.
2. Seal Up Any Drafty Areas
20 to 40 percent of what the average American spends on energy costs every year to keep their home comfortable is lost to drafty areas and leaks. Drafts can be caused by anything from old windows and window frames to pet doors. Now is the time to seal up and insulate any cold spots to help retain heat later.
For drafty windows in rooms that are barely used, recaulk them or cover them with plastic window weatherproofing material. In a pinch, you can tape them over with bubble wrap.
Consider replacing your windows with insulated-glass ones that retain the temperature of your home year-round. Another alternative is to install storm windows during the winter months.
For drafty doors, use weather strips (which can also be applied to windows) or install new door sweeps, especially on doors that open to the outdoors. For doors that open to another interior area of your home, a good old fashioned door draft blocker can also work wonders.
Don’t forget to inspect and fill in cracks and holes in the exterior of your home as well. An expanding foam sealant or acrylic-latex caulk is particularly effective at sealing gaps.
3. Lay Down Rugs
Think of rugs and carpeting like putting a sweater on your flooring—only you reap the benefits. A bare floor can get very cold and uncomfortable to walk on during the winter, and laying down a rug or carpeting will protect your feet from the jarring chill. The thicker the rug, the better it will insulate your feet from the cold.
4. Check Your Dampers
Ductwork can be another source of drafts. Check yours to see if the dampers have a “summer” and “winter” setting and adjust accordingly for the season. This will help prevent additional cold air from entering your home.
5. Prep Your Attic
Since warm air rises, you’ll need to make sure your attic has been prepped to help retain the heat. When the weather starts getting cooler, venture into the attic to see if any areas need additional insulation; you’ll be able to tell by the general temperature as well as drafty spaces. Insulation should be between 10 and 14″ deep to be the most effective, and the attic floor should be insulated as well.
Any windows as well as the entryway to the attic should be weather-stripped to prevent cold air from entering your living quarters.
6. Put Ceiling Fans in Reverse
It may sound odd to run a ceiling fan during the colder months, but the reverse setting is to help push warm air back down into the room. The trick is to run the fan at a speed that is fast enough to retain the warm air but not actually make you feel cold. You may need to experiment with the speeds to find the sweet spot that keeps you comfortable.
7. Insulate Your Hot-Water Pipes
It’s a step that most homeowners don’t consider, but insulating your hot-water pipes helps keep the water inside the pipes warmer. This prevents your water heater or boiler from using extra energy and translates into faster hot water for showers and baths—a win-win.
It’s also fairly easy to insulate hot-water pipes; simply slip foam-rubber sleeves or wind insulated wraps around the piping.
8. Let the Sunshine In
Take advantage of that free heat the sun generates by opening up your curtains and window treatments on sunny winter days and letting the rays do their job. Make sure to draw curtains again when the sun goes down to help keep rooms warmer. Lighter summer curtains should be replaced by thicker drapes in the winter to better protect you from cold windows.
Likewise, you can stay cozy if you like to cook. Your oven and stove, especially if they’re gas-powered, throw a lot of heat that can warm up a small kitchen. Just be sure to shut them off when finished and never leave them unattended, especially if you have kids or pets.
9. Move Furniture Away From Radiators
Although nothing sounds better than sitting in a chair or sofa with the back against a radiator, all of that heat is getting blocked. Move furniture away from radiators and heaters so that the heat can spread better throughout the room. If you don’t like the looks of your radiators, there are all sorts of quick-fix products available that can give them aesthetic appeal in a few minutes.
Enjoy a Warm Home All Winter
Making sure you have a warm home this winter requires a little bit of prep work but it’s totally worth it, especially while you’re safe and cozy inside watching the snowfall outside.
To ensure you and your family stay cozy all winter long, request an appointment with us to have your current heating system inspected or to receive an estimate for new equipment.