Every seven minutes, an older person dies because their house is too cold. Seniors aren’t the only ones at risk in the winter: anybody who is living with health issues or is vulnerable needs to be careful about not being exposed to the falling temperatures.
The good news is, however, that this alarming statistic can be avoided. Before the winter months set in, it is a good time to prepare your home so that it is safe and warm. You should look at the heating system, check for signs of mold and damp, and make sure that there aren’t any drafts coming through the windows and doors. Making these preparations now could also save you money on your energy bills.
Maintaining your furnace
Fall is the best time to get your heating system checked over. If you are running a furnace, then you should make sure that the area around it is free of debris before you turn it on for winter. Industry experts at www.filterking.com recommend getting the filter replaced every year, because any dirt and grease can be a fire hazard.
You should also vacuum around the air registers using a soft nozzle attachment. Before you turn your furnace on, make sure that you have your thermostat set to the heating mode and not set for air conditioning. The first time that you turn your furnace on after a long break, there may be a funny smell for ten minutes or so, caused by burning dust particles, but this should dissipate. A furnace technician will also be able to make sure that your furnace is functioning perfectly for the winter months.
Checking for drafts
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can be responsible for consuming up to 30% of the energy in your home. In fact 11% of a home’s heat is lost simply through the windows and doors. When the average energy bill is $111 per month, doing something about the drafts could save you $444 a year. Before the winter comes, go around your house and check the edges of the window frames for drafts.
You can use sealant to repair these, or apply window caulking. Weatherstripping is another good way to deal with any drafts. It is also worth making sure that your blinds and curtains cover the windows completely. Investing in some long draft-excluder snakes is an easy fix for the bottoms of doors.
Looking after your water pipes
It is important to protect your home’s hot water system before the winter months. You should protect the pipes with a special foam layer called lagging. This should stop the water inside them from freezing in the cold weather, which can cause them to burst. You should also wrap up your hot water tank – this will help the water inside it stay hotter for longer, and ultimately save energy.
Before it gets cold, make sure that your home is prepared for the winter weather. You will save on your energy costs, and most importantly, be safe and warm no matter what the weather outside.