It is pretty universally accepted that your heating system should be first on your list of priorities for getting your home ready for winter but it is certainly not the only concern. For more on readying your heating system for winter, please go to our “News” tab and click on Preparing Your Home For Winter – Part 1.
Other than having a well running, efficient heating system, a well-insulated attic will help you save on your heating bill. R-30 insulation is considered the minimum a home should have. New homes should meet this standard, often times, older homes do not. If you have an older home, you may want to consider adding insulation.
Making sure your home is tight is another way to save money. Tight means, sealed up to prevent air leakage. Look for cracks around window frames, doors, pipes and outlets. Seal any openings with caulk. Also look at cracks and gaps around your chimney, siding, dryer vents as well as kitchen and bath vents. Seal these with caulk as well. Install or replace old weather-stripping around doors and windows. If you have an older/ historic home that has its original wood sash windows, it is documented you can repair the existing windows and add storm windows less expensively than if you remove the existing windows and replace with vinyl. In addition, the original windows are far more attractive and typically will last longer than the vinyl. For more information on historic windows please visit the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) office website at www.oregon.gov .
A tight home is good but a home can be too tight, decreasing your indoor air quality. If you have concerns about your indoor air quality, please call us at any of our three offices. We can look at your home and see what may need to be done to improve the air quality and offer a variety of solutions.
Frozen pipes are another concern. You can insulate your pipes with foam rubber sleeves or insulation. You may want to go so far as to wrap the pipes in heating strips made just for this purpose. If it looks like there is going to be a severe cold snap and you are concerned that even having done the above is not enough, leave the faucet that is the furthest from the water supply running slightly to keep water moving through the system. Running water is less likely to freeze. If your pipes do freeze, before you attempt to thaw them, look to see none have actually burst or are leaking. If they have burst, fix them prior to thawing. If they are ready to thaw, shut off the water supply to the problem pipe. Open a couple faucets to allow melting ice to flow to. There are several ways to thaw the pipes. Make sure to heat them slowly and not to the point the water boils which can also damage the pipes. Wear gloves and if the pipes are plastic do not heat to the point of melting the plastic. When thawing, heat from the faucet back toward the frozen portion. You can use a hair dryer to provide heat, you can wrap rags around the pipe and pour hot water over them. Continue pouring water on the rags to keep the pipes hot. Wrap a grounded heat strip around the pipe or carefully direct a space heater on the frozen area of pipe.
Inspect your gutters and clean out any debris. Check your gutters and downspouts for leaks and clogs by running water from a garden hose into them. A debris filled gutter can back water up causing roof and basement damage.
Other items to look at are:
-Inspect your roof for any damaged or missing shingles
-Prune back bushes and trees
-Keep debris raked off of your lawn
-Drain your garden hoses and sprinklers
Once all the above is accomplished and you have had your HVAC inspected, you should be set for the winter. Any problems with your heat during the winter, make sure and call us at one of out three locations. We offer 24/7 service.