Sugar Land, Texas, may experience mild winters, but it’s still essential that residents prep their homes for the changing seasons. Between scheduling your annual HVAC service, cleaning out the gutters, and weatherproofing your home, there’s plenty you can do this fall to ensure your home is well equipped to handle the coming winter.
Have Your Systems Serviced
One of the most important things you can do for your home this fall is to schedule a service visit with your HVAC contractor. Fall is a great time for an HVAC tuneup because your technician can spot any issues with filter or duct clogs, plus they can ensure your heating system is ready to go this winter. It’s crucial to schedule an annual air conditioning and heating service anyway, so if you’ve been putting this one off for a while, now is the time to tick this essential task off your to-do list.
Preseason tuneups are also great because you can ward off any unexpected breakdowns this winter. The last thing you want to deal with during a chilly winter night is a broken heater, which is why HVAC professionals highly recommend scheduling your HVAC maintenance in the fall. Doing so now will also give you plenty of time to replace any worn or damaged parts or even invest in a new system altogether, allowing your family to enjoy the warm comforts of home all season long.
Prep the Fireplace
If your home features a fireplace, your prep list goes beyond annual HVAC maintenance. Fireplaces must be inspected before winter to ensure they’re ready and safe to use. Before winter sets in, hire a chimney sweep to remove any dangerous creosote soot or debris. A professional can also note any abnormalities in the chimney itself, which can indicate dangerous damages like deterioration, loose bricks, or cracks. You’ll also need to inspect the fireplace door, the door gasket, and blower to ensure everything is in working order before building your first fire of the season.
Prior to using the fireplace, it’s also important to inspect the damper, which is the valve designed to regulate airflow through the chimney. This needs to work properly before using the fireplace, otherwise the fumes could end up dispersing throughout your home instead.
In addition, whether you own a fireplace or a wood-burning furnace, be sure to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and test the alarms to ensure they’re working properly. These are must-have gadgets that you should have in your home regardless of the type of heating system you own.
Focus on Your Home’s Exterior
Fall is an enjoyable season, but it’s not without its drawbacks. If you’re like most homeowners, autumn brings dead leaves all over the yard and debris in the gutters, which can affect how well your home deflects rainwater away from the house. The gutter system is also designed to protect your home’s foundation, so you want to ensure it’s clear from all debris. Otherwise, you could up with a costly foundation repair, which is something no homeowner wants to experience.
Clearing out your home’s gutters is an easy do-it-yourself task that anyone can do, but if you’re afraid of heights, you can always hire a roof cleaner or handyman to do the job for you. The service is typically affordable, and it’s a smart investment that will protect your home during the upcoming wet season. What’s more, a roofing professional will be able to inspect the roof for any loose or missing shingles, which should be replaced before winter winds and ice are able to wreak havoc.
You may also want to focus on your landscaping design to help boost your home’s energy efficiency this winter. Positioning evergreen trees, shrubs, and other plants in strategic locations around your home can help block winter winds. On the other hand, keeping the south side of the home free and open to collect sunlight will also provide extra warmth without the extra costs.
Weatherproof Your Home
From the moment you turn on the heating system for the winter, your energy bill is going to go up. Rather than deal with outrageous energy costs, consider weatherproofing your home during the fall to cut down on potential energy loss.
You’ll want to check the exterior for any gaps or small holes in the siding or around the foundation, especially if you own an older home. Older windows are a major culprit, as these were never designed to be energy-efficient. While sealing any gaps around older windows with caulk or weatherstripping is a good start, you’ll want to consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows to save the most amount of money.
In addition to fixing leaks around the home’s exterior, prevent interior drafts with door draft stoppers. If you notice any hot or cold spots in certain rooms, you may want to schedule an HVAC service, as you could be dealing with holes in the ductwork. However, this is easily remedied with duct sealing, ensuring your home’s interior is more than prepared to handle the chillier season.
Seal the Driveway
Few homeowners understand the importance of inspecting and sealing paved driveways prior to winter. Pavement is susceptible to cracks and damages, which is why you’ll want to check it regularly and seal it when necessary. Sealing your driveway during the fall months not only helps extend its life through the winter, but it can also prevent moisture from accumulating in the cracks and freezing, which can end up causing accidents.
In order to protect your driveway from the winter season, look for any trouble spots such as oily stains, cracks, crumbling, or potholes. Scrub oil or grease stains with a stiff-bristle scrub brush and a degreaser product. You can then fill in the cracks with asphalt sealer and repair potholes with blacktop patch.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans come in handy all year long, not just in the summer. In the Texas heat, ceiling fan blades should turn counterclockwise in order to create a cooling wind chill effect. During the winter months, however, you should reverse the direction so that the blades can help redistribute warm air throughout the home.
Prior to changing your ceiling fan’s direction, be sure to turn it off and give it a thorough cleaning. If one of your fans has been wobbly, now is the time to balance the blades and purchase a replacement, if necessary. You’ll also want to inspect each fan to make sure all connections are tightly fastened and properly aligned.
While using a ceiling fan year-round is great for redirecting airflow and boosting your HVAC’s efficiency, you don’t want to keep them running nonstop. To save energy, always turn off your ceiling fan when exiting a room.
Cover Your Air Conditioner
With summer over and winter on its way, your air conditioner can take a much-deserved break. The winter months, however, can be harsh on your external air conditioning unit, so be sure to prep it carefully and wrap the outside box in an appropriate cover.
Start by changing the AC’s air filter to ensure it goes into hibernation with clean components. You’ll also want to clean the unit and remove any debris. While it’s tempting to attempt to clean an AC unit yourself, you’re better off leaving this to the professionals, otherwise you could end up causing internal damage. Once the unit is clean, cover it with an approved cover or tarp. You’ll also want to check your home’s air ducts and vents for any noticeable dust and give them a detailed cleaning.
If you’ve been considering upgrading to a more efficient air conditioning unit, you may want to do so during the winter months, as you can end up getting a much better deal when these units are no longer in high demand.
Prepping your home for winter is easy when you stick to a recommended fall maintenance schedule. Between your own elbow grease and the knowledge of local service professionals, we can ensure your house is well equipped to handle the upcoming season in the most efficient manner possible. Contact Davis Air Conditioning & Heating at 888-710-5530 to schedule your fall HVAC tuneup.
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