Winter maintenance for homes should be a mandatory task for all home owners. When it is still warm in the fall it would be a good time to start winterizing your home.  Once this task is completed, you will have peace of mind and enjoy the colder weather in comfort while enjoying the festive season with all the glad tidings, good food and merriment with family and friends.

Before you could enjoy all these things, here are the chores you need to address:

1. Tune-up the heating system

According to research, approximately 30% of a typical home energy consumption is from the heating system.  Depending on the region in which you live and the type of fuel you burn, this estimate could easily double. So, it would be an asset to you when you take the time to check the operation of all the devices you have installed in your home to ensure that they are working at a high efficiency level.  For the heating system, it is advisable to change the filters, check for faulty parts and perform winter maintenance and repairs which could prevent major operational headaches if you have a breakdown in the middle of winter.

2. Ductwork insulation inspection

Over time, ductwork insulation gradually deteriorates and as such cause heat loss from your heating system. You could be wasting about 60% of your heating costs through inadequate insulation on your duct work while trying to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Some of the areas you should inspect are the main duct from the air handler, the basement, attic or other crawl spaces and the furnace itself. If you suspect and observe that the ducting in some places are pinched or separated you can use some duct tape and patch the area.  If it is bad, you could get some advice from your local hardware store to fix it.  The store assistants and associates are well trained to help the homeowner to do minor repairs in the home. Any pipes that are outside the home should be insulated as well.

3. Seal windows for air leaks

As seasons change from hot to cold with the heating system running throughout the winter and the air conditioning running all summer, the windows take a huge beating. They get this beating from outside as well.  With the sun striking on the outside and the cooling and heating on the inside, the window seals get caked or cracked and you lose heating and cooling through them. Examine each window carefully and determine if the cracks are superficial or real. If real, you must take action to fill the cracks with approved sealants. Again, the store associates at the hard ware stores will be very helpful in this area. If the cracks are really bad around the window panes and frame then it might be a good idea to have a handyman inspect them for maintenance and or repair.  It might be time to replace your frames or windows if they are severely cracked and leaking air badly.  You can save a lot in electric bills if your windows are sealed well according to standard code enforcement regulations.

4. Weather strip exterior doors.

If your weather stripping on interior and exterior doors are deteriorated, worn out or missing, you could be losing a lot of your heating to the open air outside.  This could be the cause of your house being cold although your thermostat is turn up to the maximum. Install door sweepers and caulk all doors that require them.  You would be surprised at the reduction in your next electric bill. If your walls and windows were not well constructed and air appears to be entering from the outside through the window frames, you could purchase a roll of 6 mm plastic sheeting, cut them slightly larger than the window frame and tape the ends with duct tape but be careful not to damage the paint on the walls.  Just this one tip will give you a significant saving on your electric bill and you will stay warm too.

5. Fine Tuning from Your Heating Control

The older thermostats installed on the heating systems are incapable of fine tuning the temperature you need. It senses the average temperature and turns the system “on” or “off”. However, with a programmable thermostat you get better control of “on” and “off” times of your heating system.  It would be a good investment to install a programmable thermostat as the energy savings could be substantial.

So, take these steps and perform your winter maintenance chores so you can enjoy your winter and summer with the least worry.