You can do-it-yourself AND save money at the same time when it comes to weatherizing your home for coller temperatures. Some people think it’s either too difficult or too expensive but that's far from the truth. What IS too expensive (and difficult) is the reality of a $100-minimum repair bill just to have a repair person show up at your door.
The key is preventative maintenance! With winter not that far away, many people do not give it a second thought when switching the thermostat to “heat”. We expect to hear our furnaces come to life and keep us warm, but that doesnn't always happen. Some of the most common causes? A pilot could be out (older furnaces), dirty filters, dirty thermostat, dirty ductwork or the not-so-common (and more expensive) component failures. You can avoid most of these with a liitle DIY prevention.
You probably caught the common denominator of dirty in the last paragraph. Well, dirt is everywhere, and your heating system is not exempt. Unfortunately, it is a collection site for dirt given all the air passing over it all year long through the heating and cooling seasons. Before you turn that furnace on this year, stop, take note of the following and be sure to allow yourself time to plan & execute:
1. Locate, find the size of your furnace filter, and write it down if you do not already know the size. It’s always going to be on the return-air side of your furnace and will be the ductwork that carries the air to the furnace.
2. Change the filter before using the furnace for the first time this season.
3. Give your entire return-air system a good vacuuming before changing that filter.
4. Check & test your system for proper operation (no abnormal sounds, good heat coming out of all the vents) and proper shutdown. If anything is out of the ordinary, now is the time to get it addressed BEFORE there are bigger problems!
5. Count the smoke detectors in your home, write down the number and grab some 9-volt batteries. There’s no price tag for saving a life and now’s the perfect time to change the batteries. If you don't have the type that use a battery, be sure you at least test each one.
6. When you're close to being done with the garden hose for the season, grab a few pairs of old socks, some plastic wrap and some duct tape. The socks over the spigot with the plastic wrap taped down around it makes for the perfect insulator!
7. Give yourself a pat on the back! One less thing to worry about when the cold weather gets to Little Flower!