Hagerstown, Maryland’s unpredictable temperatures could have you turning to your heater at any time in the fall. If a cold spell hits, you want to make sure you’re ready to turn on your furnace and warm up efficiently. Take care of these home maintenance tasks in early fall for a heater and home that are perfectly prepared for affordable and efficient heating.
Schedule Annual Maintenance
Your heater needs annual maintenance to stay in top condition. During this tune-up, your HVAC technician will lubricate moving parts, tighten electrical connections, and check gas connections, along with inspecting the burner combustion, heat exchanger, thermostat settings, system controls, and other parts of the furnace. A system that’s serviced once a year operates more efficiently and enjoys a longer life span. This preventative maintenance will also alert you to any impending problems before you’re suddenly without heat in the middle of winter.
Stock Up on Filters
You should change your heater’s filter once a month for the best indoor air quality and operating efficiency. This is a quick and simple task, but it’s easy to put off if you don’t have filters on hand. Stock up on furnace filters at the beginning of the season so you have several on hand.
Check the Roof for Leaks
Climb to the roof and inspect it for damage. Early fall is the ideal time for this task because it’s cool enough to work outside, but you’re not dealing with hazards like ice and snow. Corroded flashing and curled or cracked shingles are prime signs of damage. Repair your roof now so you’re not battling leaks in the winter.
Clean Woodstoves and Fireplaces
If you have a woodstove or fireplace, you need to clean and inspect it before you use it for the first time this fall. Have a professional inspect your chimney and clean it if necessary. Most fireplaces need a thorough cleaning once a year. Your chimney cleaner can also check the damper to make sure it’s providing an efficient seal when the fireplace isn’t in use.
If you never use your fireplace, consider installing a chimney balloon. This will block the flow of air completely so you’re not letting warm air escape or giving chilly fall air an entrance point.
Check Your Insulation
Homes built before 1980 typically lack adequate insulation. You can usually see exposed insulation in the attic, basement, and garage, giving you an idea of how thick it is and what type you currently have. To check insulation in walls, remove an outlet cover and shine a flashlight into the space. You can roll out batts or blow in loose fill insulation quickly and affordably.
The attic is the easiest and most important place to add insulation. Attics in Maryland typically need insulation with an R-value between 38 and 60. This insulation can be anywhere from eight to 20 inches thick, depending on the type. If you’re working with anything less, you’re letting hot air rise through the ceiling and disappear.
Look for Drafts
Examine your windows, doors, and electrical outlets for cracks and drafts. Install weather stripping around moving parts of the home, like windows and doors. Add caulk to non-moving areas, such as the window frame, to seal cracks. Add a foam gasket behind electrical outlets and light switches to prevent heat loss.
Find and Inspect Heating Vents
Go through the home and locate each heating vent. Make sure they’re unobstructed, and rearrange furniture as needed to facilitate optimum air flow.
If you’re ready to schedule your fall maintenance or other repairs and upgrades in preparation for the season ahead, contact Griffith Energy Services at 888-474-3391. Sign up for a maintenance agreement and each preventative visit will earn you points toward your next replacement. Prepare your home now and you can enjoy a comfortable, worry-free winter with an efficient system and lower energy bills.
Image provided by Shutterstock