September 21, 2015

12 Items for Your Autumn Cleaning Checklist

Autumn cleaning. It doesn’t sound quite as catchy as ”spring cleaning,” but some important maintenance tasks in the fall will prepare you for an icy Utah winter. Read the tips below to know how you can keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient this fall and winter.

  • Protect Your Pipes
  • A burst pipe will quickly cause a flood of problems once the ice thaws out and water starts flowing. Some outdoor faucets include freeze-proof features, but you should drain or insulate any outdoor piping without those enhancements.
    If you’re unsure whether a pipe will risk freezing or not, ask a plumbing expert.

  • Clean the Gutters
  • Utah’s fall leaves are beautiful, but not when they clog up your gutter. A messy gutter is an eyesore, but it also causes issues in the winter, when ice dams start to form. Gutters direct water away from your home, but when a clogged gutter starts to freeze, that water might seep into your home instead. Additionally, too much ice build-up might weigh down your gutter enough for it to break off your house.

  • Fertilize Your Lawn
  • A lot of people remember to apply fertilizer in the spring, but a fall fertilization will help your lawn immensely. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer that will help your grass recover from an exhaustingly hot Utah summer and feed your lawn before it gets covered in white. A properly fertilized lawn will get green sooner in the spring, and your neighbors will ask you how you did it.

  • Check That Chimney
  • If you have a fireplace and traditional chimney, it’s essential to prepare them well for winter. Hire a chimney sweep to remove soot. Check the chimney crown and mortar for any wear and tear. Consider buying a chimney balloon if your chimney seems drafty. But don’t forget to take the balloon out before starting a fire.

  • Look Around Outside
  • Your home’s walls and roof won’t do much good this winter if they don’t form an effective shell. Make sure the walls and roof are in order-outdoor-rated caulking can help patch up any cracks.

  • Seal Any Leaks
  • Air leaks allow warm air to flow out of your house, so your furnace must keep working and your energy bill goes up. Check the following areas for escaping air:

    • Attic hatch
    • Ceiling
    • Doors
    • Fireplaces
    • Outlets and switches
    • Windows

    Use some caulk to seal any small leaks; larger projects might require outside professional help.

  • Inspect Your Furnace
  • Try and fit in a furnace inspection by an HVAC technician before winter comes. Just like a car, a furnace needs a regular tune-up to run efficiently and safely. And if you schedule an inspection early in the fall, you might beat the”HVAC rush” as it gets closer to winter.
    If your furnace is toast, buying a new furnace might seem prohibitively expensive, but federal tax credits can refund you that cost by as much as 30%.

  • Replace All Filters
  • If you ignore that filthy furnace filter, it will only end up costing you more money. A dirty filter impedes airflow and makes your heating system less efficient, which means a higher energy bill. You might need to replace them throughout the winter, depending on the type of filter you purchase.

  • Check the Ducts
  • Ductwork can be hard to get to, so have an HVAC technician inspect your ducts to make sure they function properly. Some estimates say that as much as 20% of the air in your central heating system might get lost as it moves through your air ducts. Make sure to seal and insulate all the duct joints in your home to save heat and money.

  • Add Some Insulation
  • Ensure that your house is properly insulated. Check the bottom of the attic and the top of the basement for insulation. The scratchy material isn’t always pleasant to work with, but insulation makes a huge difference in home heat retention.

  • Watch the Thermostat
  • You want you and your family to stay warm, but leaving your heat on all the time wastes money. At night or while on vacation, you might want to lower that thermostat for a bit. Consider buying a programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust to your preferred temperatures all winter long.

  • Reverse Ceiling Fans
  • You might think fans only work for cooling your family off, but many ceiling fans have a reverse setting that will help your family keep warm as you move from autumn to winter. Warm air rises, and when the fan turns the correct way- clockwise in winter- the tilt of the fan’s blade will help send warm air back down to your level.

Fall is a wonderful season in Utah. While you enjoy some weekends watching college football or heading up the canyon to see the leaves, don’t forget to do some autumn cleaning as well. If you need help with your fall maintenance routine, contact an HVAC professional to ensure you have everything ready for winter.

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