Winter has arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina, bringing with it hot chocolate, holiday cheer, and, sometimes, bitter chill. Fortunately, it’s not too late to prepare for the worst of the cold. Prepare your home for the worst of winter and you’ll enjoy greater energy efficiency, lower utility costs, and a cozy season.

Schedule Professional HVAC Maintenance

If you haven’t already scheduled it this season, set up a professional HVAC maintenance appointment in preparation for winter. Over the summer, your HVAC system experienced strain and wear as it maintained comfort in your home. That strain can carry over into the winter months, making your heating less efficient and even potentially damaging your system.

You can prepare your HVAC system to run efficiently through the winter months with a professional HVAC maintenance appointment. During a maintenance visit, one of our technicians will thoroughly inspect your system for wear and damage, conduct necessary repairs, clean the interior of your unit, and complete any other necessary HVAC-related maintenance. Professional HVAC maintenance will also keep your family safe during the winter months by guaranteeing that your heating system can properly vent the carbon monoxide it produces.

Clean Your Vents and Heat Registers

Now is a great time to clean your air vents, heat registers, and baseboard heaters. Dust, dirt, and debris tend to collect in and around these vents. They hinder your airflow, reducing both your energy efficiency and your comfort. Don’t just wipe down the surface of the vent. You should be able to remove the entire air vent grate or the front of your baseboard heater to get rid of dust and dirt.

Program Your Thermostat

Since your thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system, how you use it will determine how energy-efficient and comfortable your home is during the winter months. If you program your thermostat right, you can enjoy both lower utility costs and a cozy home. The closer your thermostat setting is to the temperature outside, the less strain your heating system will experience and the more energy-efficient your unit will be.

While you’re home during the winter, program your thermostat to keep your living space around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. While you’re away or asleep, you can adjust your programming to keep your home cooler. Program the thermostat to warm things up in the morning or as you make your way home.

Prep Your Pipes

The last thing you need during the winter is a frozen or burst pipe. Since our winters can get cold enough to freeze the water in your pipes, you need to prepare your plumbing to handle the freezing temperatures. Start by disconnecting and draining any outside hoses and then drain any water that may remain in those faucets. If possible, shut off your outside water valves, especially if you don’t have frost-proof outdoor faucets.

If you have exposed pipes in any area of your home, such as in an attic or crawl space, wrap those pipes in insulation sleeves. When the temperature drops considerably, open cabinet doors and let your home’s air warm up those pipes.

Seal Your Thermal Envelope

When the cold strikes, you’ll want your warm air to stay where it belongs. Fortunately, your "thermal envelope" separates the air inside your home from the air outdoors. That envelope includes anything that keeps your air indoors, such as windows, doors, insulation, and so on. However, leaks can sometimes open in that thermal envelope, allowing cold air to enter your home and warm air to exit. That heat transfer strains your HVAC system as it tries to compensate and maintain comfort in your living space.

Before the coldest months come, make sure your thermal envelope is sealed by taking care of areas where leaks are common, such as around doors and windows, and in your attic. Seal leaks around your doors with weatherstripping, around windows with caulk, and in your attic or other unfinished areas with insulation or expanding foam.

You deserve to enjoy these holiday months in a cozy, energy-efficient home. To prep your home with professional HVAC maintenance, call Airmax Heating & Cooling at 910-795-4359.

Image provided by iStock

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