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Winter Maintenance Tips: How to Winterize Your Home

Winters in Champaign can be long and hard so you will need a properly functioning heating system. Learn how to protect your home against winter’s bite with this maintenance checklist:

Winter Maintenance Checklist

  1. Schedule professional heating maintenance. Neglecting maintenance on your furnace, boiler, and water heating systems can lead to premature breakdowns, safety hazards, worsened indoor air quality, and voided warranties. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to schedule heating maintenance, before you start relying on your heating system every day. Your HVAC technician will inspect your system, wiring, and vent connections to ensure safety and efficiency. In addition, your technician will:
    • Tighten all electrical connections
    • Lubricate moving parts
    • Run diagnostics and check controls
    • Calibrate thermostat
    • Check vent and pipe connections
    • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Check all gas connections, burners, blower, motor, heat exchanger, etc.

    When you have a professional HVAC technician at home, ask them to identify areas in your home and ductwork that could be leaking air. Make sure they winterize your A/C unit. Also, have them check your humidification system and make sure it is set properly for winter. Call Cassel Home Comfort at (217) 866-1596 for your professional heating/furnace tune-up in the Champaign, IL area.

  2. Seal air leaks. Plug up those leaks around your doors and windows that allow cold air to creep into your home, forcing your heater to work harder than it should. See this map of the common air leaks in your home from ENERGY STAR:Sealing air leak in homeWhen inspecting your home for air leaks, you will want to check the following areas first: door and windows, places where utilities enter the home, attic and ceiling, ductwork, and fireplace Learn how to seal air ducts and windows and doors. Also, click here for “A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with Energy Star.”
  3. Portable space heaters. Instead of turning on the heat for the entire house, consider using a portable space heater to warm only the room that you are in. This can be especially effective if you spend most of your time in one section of the home. Additionally, they’re lightweight and easy to move around! By heating only the rooms in use, you can keep your thermostat at a lower temperature, thus saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Keep in mind, however, that the electricity to run your space heater is significantly more expensive that the fuel used to run your furnace. Only use a space heater if you are in a close vicinity and make sure it is far away from anything flammable.
  4. Program your thermostat. If you haven’t already invested in one of these, you should really get one. Programmable thermostats allow you to preset the temperature during the day or night, thus saving you money on your energy bills. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, you can save 1% on your heating bill for every degree that you turn your thermostat back for a period of 8 hours or more. We recommend setting your thermostat to 68°F-70°F while you are awake and at home and 10°F below that while away from home or asleep. You can program your thermostat to make these adjustments automatically, saving you money without even having to think about it.
  5. Bring in outdoor furniture and equipment. Protect your yard furniture by wrapping them up and storing them for winter. Also, make sure you drain all the gas out of your lawn equipment, such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers. Leaving gas in your tools over winter will cause clogs and damage to your equipment. Don’t risk “bad gas.” ‘
  6. Change your furnace filter. Set reminders for yourself to check and/or change your furnace filter every 30 days. Doing this simple home maintenance task will improve airflow to your system which is good for your comfort and your wallet. Sign up for our email newsletter, which will remind you to check your air filter.
  7. Consider home air purification systems. Whereas air filters trap airborne contaminants of a certain size, air purifiers actually remove the contaminants from the air.
  8. Reverse your ceiling fans. Did you know ceiling fans can help you feel warmer during the winter? Simply flip the little black switch at the base of your ceiling fan to reverse the blade direction. This will create an updraft that will force the warm air near your ceiling (hot air rises) down towards your living space.
  9. Check insulation levels in your attic. This is a fairly complicated DIY project, but one that is entirely do-able. Click here for the ENERGY STAR guide to attic insulation. Find out if you need to add insulation, what the potential savings are, and when to hire a professional.
  10. Sign up for Cassel Home Comfort’s Home Maintenance Plan to ensure your heating and air conditioning system last for a long time and saves you money on your energy bills.

Here are some more quick energy-saving tips:

  • test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (replace CO detectors after 5 years and smoke alarms after 10 years)
  • wear warm clothing
  • cook indoors with an oven (but don’t use it as a heating substitute)
  • get chimney inspected
  • make sure fireplace flue fits properly
  • clean your gutters
  • consider purchasing backup home generator
  • insulate your pipes
  • replace your windows and doors with storm windows and doors

Read our air-sealing blogs for more information on saving money and energy this fall/winter:

For more information on insulation and where to seal air leaks, consult’s Tips for Sealing Air Leaks and Duct Sealing/Repair Tips.

Cassel Home Comfort Heating & Cooling is committed to being your best HVA/C contractor choice in Central Illinois in both Value and Customer Service! Call us to maintain your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in the Champaign, IL area: (217) 866-1596.