Prepping Your Home for Winter (Part 2)

It seems fall has finally reached the Tri Cities. Whether it stays cool or warms up momentarily, now is the ideal time to prepare your home for the winter. Over the next few weeks we will be covering some of the fall maintenance to do’s to keep your home safe and running well during the coming winter months.

7. Inspect the Heat System- Having your HVAC unit inspected by a licensed HVAC professional twice a year, is a good idea. They can test the unit’s safety controls, clean out the blower and motor, test the burner, switches and thermostat, and also check for any leaks. You can also check for duct leaks or cracks yourself and seal them with metallic duct sealing tape and duct mastic.

8. Furnace Filter- To allow your unit to run efficiently you should change the furnace filter every 1-3 months. Changing the filter is a fairly easy task, just remove the cover on the air return (most of the time it’s the biggest grate in the house), slide out the old filter and replace with the new one making sure the arrows are pointing in the direction of the air flow.

9. Ceiling Fans- Changing the direction of rotation on your fan should be done when the weather cools and also when it warms up. For fall and winter seasons, the fans should rotate clockwise, as opposed to the warmer seasons of spring and summer which they should rotate counterclockwise. To do this simply turn the fan off, wait till it stops rotating, locate the directional switch which is usually located on the fan housing, and flip the switch.

10. Door Locks- Locks tend to become sticky and hard to lock or unlock, because over time the graphite in them breaks down causing the mechanisms to catch. To lubricate your door locks you need to squirt a small amount of powdered graphite into the keyhole. After you have applied the graphite lock and unlock the door a few times with the key to make sure the graphite gets into all the little spaces and gives you a smooth turn.

11. Squeaky Hinges- While you are working on the door lock, go ahead and check the hinges to see if they squeak. You’ll need a small can or tube of white lithium grease. To lubricate the hinges, close the door and tap out the hinge pin. Coat the pin and barrel of the hinge with a small amount of the grease. Put the hinge pin back and open and close the door a few times keeping an eye out for any grease that may leak through the barrel. If any does leak through simply wipe it up.

12. Fireplace and Chimney- Before turning your fireplace on or lighting it for the first time this season, you should inspect the chimney and fireplace for any issues that may cause a fire in your home (other than in the fireplace). Having a Fireplace Investigation, Repair, and Education (F.I.R.E) certified chimney sweep come to inspect your chimney and fireplace and make any necessary repairs or cleaning is the best way to do this. Generally, a chimney will need to be cleaned out every time there is ¼ in of creosote built up to prevent those nasty chimney fires.

13. Inventory- Thinking about losses incurred in a fire, theft or other natural disasters is never a fun thing to do, but having a home inventory on hand can often make the stress of insurance claims ease. To compile a list of items in your home start a spreadsheet on your computer and list all the important items in each room. When applicable include model and serial numbers, price, description and any other vital information, for example purchase receipts, about the item being described. Take detailed photos of each item and each room, but don’t forget to photograph the outside of the home from all sides too. A video of the home is also an excellent way to show what you have in the home and what the home looked like for the insurance company. Do not store these items in your home, but instead store them in a place like a safe deposit box or with a friend or family member.

Here is a link to Part 1 of this article.

Distinctive Properties, Inc.
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