Smart Home Maintenance and Improvement Tips for Fall
By: Danny Lipford
Fall is just around the corner, which means winter isn’t far behind. This is the perfect time of year to make sure your house is energy efficient and ready for the cold weather ahead. That includes buttoning up your house up to lower your winter heating bills, maximizing the efficiency of your heating system, and making sure your house is safe from fires.
Improve Home Energy Efficiency
The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is to draftproof your house by finding and sealing any air leaks, especially those around windows and doors.
- Start by closing all your doors and windows, turning off the heating/cooling system, and turning on any exhaust fans—such as range hoods and bath vent fans—to create an artificial draft in your home.
- Light a stick of incense and pass it slowly around the edges of windows and doors.
- Watch for movement of the smoke—indicating drafts—and mark the spots with pieces of painter’s tape.
- Examine the weatherstripping where drafts were found, and adjust or replace any that is worn, bent, or damaged.
- To seal gaps in the threshold at the bottom of doors, install Duck® brand Double Draft Seal or Triple Draft Seal.
To reduce the amount of cold air coming through the glass on older single-pane windows, apply a plastic film kit—such as Duck® brand Roll-On Window Insulation Kits—over the window.
Folding attic stairs can also be a major source of heat loss during the winter. Start by applying self-adhesive foam weatherstripping between the pull down stairs and the frame, then position a Duck® brand Attic Stairway Cover in the attic over the opening.
Go to Duck Weatherization Solutions for more home energy saving tips and products.
Maintain Your Heating System
Whether your heating system uses gas, oil, or electricity, it’s important have it thoroughly inspected and adjusted annually by a trained HVAC professional, such as those at authorized Carrier dealers.
The best time to schedule a heating inspection is in early fall before cold weather arrives, since heating contractors are not as busy. During a heating inspection, a HVAC professional can:
- Replace the air filter
- Clean and inspect the blower
- Test the safety controls
- Inspect and adjust the burner
- Check the thermostat
- Test pressure switches
- Inspect the ductwork and repair any leaks
It’s also important for the homeowner to continue to replace the furnace air filter every one to three months as needed during cold weather with a quality air filter.
To find a qualified HVAC service technician in your area, go the Carrier website and click on Find a Dealer.
Make Your House Safer
There are over 300,000 house fires each year in the United States, which is why it is so important to have both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms located throughout your home and to replace the batteries on the detectors regularly.It’s also important to keep a multipurpose (ABC type) fire extinguisher on hand, especially in the kitchen where most home fires start.
Fall is also a good time to have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a certified chimney sweep to make sure it’s drawing properly and that creosote hasn’t built up to dangerous levels, which can cause a chimney fire.
Electrical problems are another major cause of fires in homes. Electrical fires result in over 50,000 house fires a year, causing nearly 500 deaths and over 1,400 injuries.
Shorts in wiring inside walls, on extension cords, in lamps, or from appliances can result in “arc-faults” that can generate temperatures up to 10,000° F. Arc-faults are the main electrical failure that results in fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Replacing existing electrical wall outlets with Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI), such as SmartlockPro® Outlet Branch Circuit AFCI Devices from Leviton, can detect arc-faults and then interrupt the power to help prevent electrical fires in your home.
Go to the Leviton website to find out more about SmartlockPro® Outlet Branch Circuit AFCI Devices.
Watch Fall Maintenance Tips for Smart Homeowners to find out more.