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Posted in You | October 2014

The big chill

home ready for fall and winter
As the cooler weather approaches, it’s time to snuggle in and get ready to spend more time in the great indoors. To ensure that your home is always as cozy as possible during the chilly winter months, it’s a good idea to do some prep work now. In addition to cleaning up your yard and storing summer furniture and outdoor toys, spend some time making sure the inside of your house is safe and winter ready too:

  • Have a qualified technician tune up your heating system. Not only will this ensure that your furnace is working efficiently, it will also help to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, if you take this step now you’ll be far less likely to find yourself stuck without heat on the coldest day of the year!
  • If you have a fireplace (or any heating appliance that burns gas, oil, wood or coal), have a chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney before your first fire of the season to help prevent fires.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters. This should be done every three months.
  • Check the area around your furnace. Make sure to keep debris, garbage and all flammable materials away from the furnace.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and vacuum each with the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Test to make sure they’re working correctly once you’re finished.
  • Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher at home, and inspect it at the beginning of the season to make sure it is clean and in working order. If it looks damaged, replace it with a new one.
  • Check your emergency preparedness kit and restock as necessary. Ensure that flashlights and radios have batteries and are functioning properly. If you don’t have an emergency preparedness kit and you’re not sure what you need to include in one, visit the American Red Cross for free online preparedness training.

Want to beat Old Man Winter at his own game and save a little money? Check out these clever cool-weather efficiency tips:

  • Turn your heat down a little at night. Cutting back for several hours can make a big difference in your fuel consumption. Throw on a few extra blankets if need be.
  • If you’re having a large group of people over, turn the thermostat down a few degrees before they arrive. A crowd can generate a lot of heat, so not only will you save a little money, you’ll all be more comfortable.
  • If you have large windows, close the drapes to help prevent heat loss.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless you’re having a fire. A lot of heat can be lost through the chimney when it’s not in use.
  • If you have a ceiling fan, check to see if it has a reverse switch. This allows you to run the blades in a clockwise direction, which produces an updraft that will push heated air down from the ceiling.
  • Check the setting on your furnace seasonally to make sure you have it adjusted for the proper level of humidity. Houses can actually feel cold when they’re too dry, even if the temperature is set accordingly.

For more information and advice on getting your home ready for the big chill and staying toasty all winter long, visit How Stuff Works, and About Home.

411610A CAN/US (04/15)


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