September 16, 2018

Take care of home winterization, then enjoy the fall activities


Have you noticed it?  A sweater or light jacket sure feels good early in the morning or if you're out at night. The kids are back at school, and it's football time in Tennessee.  All are unmistakable sighs that fall – our most colorful season – is rapidly approaching.

If you think about it, September is the prime time to get your home ready for winter. The weather is good enough to work outside, and those who take care of the chores will bank some extra time to enjoy the region's glorious fall vistas.

One of the most important winterization checkpoints should be a heating system inspection and tune-up. But unless you're an accomplished do-it-yourself, this is best left to a professional.

An often-overlooked money-saving item that doesn't necessarily require professional service is heating system ducts. A central heating system can lose up to 60 percent of its heated air before it reaches the rooms to be heated if ductwork is not well-connected, clean and insulated in unheated areas. That means more than just a chilly house. It's a waste of energy and over a winter's time a waste of money. Ducts should be vacuumed once every three or four years to clean out dust and other foreign material.  And don't forget to stock up on heating system filters. Dirty filters impede the heating system's air flow, and that reduces efficiency.

If you have a fireplace and the chimney has not been cleaned for a while schedule an appointment with a chimney sweep. And, if you have a wood-burning stove remembers that it also needs exhaust cleaning.

After the heating system is fine-tuned, it's time to move outdoors. Check the doors and windows for weather stripping that needs replacing.

Rake all debris and vegetation away from your home's foundation, and then look for crevices, cracks or spaces around pipes that need to be sealed. Even if it's a small crack seal it. Your efforts will be rewarded with a warmer home and fewer creepy, crawly critters seeking shelter.

One way to check out air leaks inside the house is to walk around the drafty areas on a breezy day with a lighted incense stick or candle. You'll be able to see exactly where the drafts are coming from. Then you can block the air invasion with caulk or insulation strips.

Door sweeps are a good idea to close spaces under exterior doors.

Another thing to remember is reversing your ceiling fan.

It's a small thing often overlooked. But by reversing the fan’s direction from the summer setting, it will push warm air downward and force it to re-circulate. That keeps the room - and you - more comfortable.

If you're not sure and the switch doesn't indicate a winter/summer selection, turn it on and watch the direction the blades move. They should be turning clockwise during the winter.

A full list of winterizing tips and instructions can be found at the House Logic website at House Logic is a free service of the National Association of Realtors®.