Posts Tagged With: home winterization

Seasons Change and So Should Your Filters

Seasons Change and So Should Your FiltersBefore settling in for a long winter, consider improving your home’s air and water quality by changing the filters throughout the house. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the average person spends nearly 87% of their life indoors and that the air inside our homes is often worse than the air outside. We are exposed to higher concentrations of airborne pollutants including cold and flu viruses in our home than anywhere else.

Harmful Allergens Lurk in Your Household Dust

Household dust can contain everything from lead and formaldehyde to allergens like dust mites, pollen, mold and pet dander. Children and the elderly are especially sensitive to poor indoor air quality, which is why keeping filters clean is so important.

Here are 9 filters you should check and/or change before cold weather arrives: 

  • Furnace – Proper filter replacement can help keep it working properly. When removing a filter on an old system, note the direction it was installed. Some only work when placed with the airflow going one way.
  • HVAC – Central air and heat systems need to have the filters changed every 3 months and if you have pets, every 2 months.
  • Dryer – Clean the filter after every load. Once a year have the hose running from the dryer to the exterior wall vacuumed to prevent buildup and fire hazards.
  • Humidifier – Some heating systems have them attached so you may want a professional to service them. For free-standing humidifiers, frequently clean the unit and replace the filter to avoid mold and bacteria growing. A healthy humidity level in a home is between 30-50%.
  • HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) – Newer, energy efficient homes have air exchange systems that use warm indoor air to heat fresh colder air. Since contaminants can be recirculated back into the home keeping the filter changed is key.
  • AC Housing – The grill on an outdoor unit serves to keep air flowing inward and heat dissipating. Keeping it free of leaves and debris allows your system to run smoothly.
  • Water Filters – Water purifying systems have a sensor to tell you when the filter needs to be changed but we often ignore it. Change this twice a year to keep mold and bacteria from building up.
  • Refrigerator Water/Ice Maker – Just like the purifying system on the kitchen sink, the water filter on the refrigerator gets overlooked until the ice or water develops an odor or tastes bad. Letting your filter go too long can result in costly repairs or replacement.
  • Range Hood – Made of stainless steel, these filters collect grease and food particles from cooking. Scrubbing with warm soapy water and baking soda routinely will keep grime from building up on your fan motor.

Clogged filters can cause:

  • appliances to operate inefficiently.
  • AC cooling coils to freeze from lack of airflow.
  • heating and cooling costs to rise.
  • unhealthy air to be re-circulated throughout home.
  • HVAC systems to fail resulting in costly repairs.

Breathe Easier by Replacing Your Filters

By replacing your air and water filters, your home will be healthier and operating at maximum efficiency. Set a reminder on your phone to help you keep track of when to change them out. Remember to date the new filters before installing. Don’t let replacing an inexpensive filter cost you hundreds of dollars in repairs. Change is a good thing.

Expert Advice

From dehumidifiers and air scrubbers to ladders and vacuums, our expert staff is always on hand to help you keep your home comfortable and safe. Want to stay warm this Winter? Our blog, Need Hot Water/ Heat – Best Practices for Maintaining Your Systems, has tips for helping you stay toasty when cold weather arrives. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Cold Weather Basics: Winterizing Windows, Doors and Vents (Part 3)

How much heat is lost through windows, doors and vents in the winter? We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the third of a four-part special edition on our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking about winterizing windows, doors and vents.

Winterizing Your Doors, Windows and Vents1. TLC for Drafty Windows

Windows let the warm sunshine into a room, and can also let heat escape to the outside. Even triple-pane glass windows can benefit from a little winterizing. Install storm windows, if you have them, or you can create an efficient – and less expensive – solution using plastic sheeting designed to insulate windows. Properly installed, plastic sheeting creates a seal with the glass, keeping moisture out and preventing heat loss, while the smooth, almost invisible seal lets the light shine in.

Cut the plastic sheeting a few inches larger than each window. Apply the sheeting to the inside of clean windows, using double-sided tape to secure it to the window sill and the wall. Apply heat to the plastic with a hair dryer or heat gun until the sheeting shrinks against the window and creates the seal. Trim any excess plastic if needed.

2. Weather-Stripping for Windows & Doors

Experts say homeowners can save up to 15 percent on energy bills by weather-stripping windows and doors. You can find many types of weather stripping at your local home center such as foam tape, sponge rubber, vinyl tubing, silicone air barriers, felt and V-strip or tension seals. Good for both windows and doors, these types of weather stripping peel and stick, fasten with screws, press into place or come attached to a metal or wood mounting strip. Most attach to the tops and bottoms of doors and windows with ease, working as a barrier against the elements. The V-strip uses a tension seal created by its “V’ shape.

Door sweeps are attached to the bottom, interior side of a door and use a strip made from nylon, plastic or vinyl, or a sponge brush to fill the space between the floor and door.

3. Try Register Covers

One of most overlooked winterizing projects is to cover central air conditioning AC vents, or registers. They are essentially large holes in the ceiling where heat can escape right into the duct work. Cover the air conditioning ducts using magnetic ceiling register covers. If the register is made from aluminum, you can make a cover from plastic and attach it with Velcro strips or even thin weather stripping. When it comes to floors, keep cold at bay by close foundation vents and covering them with Styrofoam vent covers.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of winterizing your windows, doors and vents. For other installments in this series, check out the post about snow removal and the post about insulating your home. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 More Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Getting your home ready for winter’s weather is a priority for most homeowners, especially in the fall, before the cold stuff starts to fly. We’ve put together three more ways to protect your home and property – then you can cross “winterizing” off your to-do list. Don’t delay!

3 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

1. Tune-Up Your Home Heating System

In addition to preparing your home to keep heat in for the winter (consider linking to part 1 of this blog series), keeping your furnace and other heating equipment clean and in good running condition, helps ensure proper heat output, reducing energy use and heating costs.

  • Check if your utility company offers free or discounted annual checkups of your home’s heating system by qualified technicians, and call early to avoid the rush. Another resource to try is furnace manufacturers or dealers that offer free or discounted inspections.
  • If your furnace needs a new part, by all means get it replaced now – it will not only save your money, but perhaps a little heartache, if the furnace decides to poop out during a winter storm. Plus it’s a lot more cost efficient to replace a part rather than replace the entire furnace.
  • Consider upgrading to a new energy efficient furnace to not only save money, but also increase the value of your home. Typically you’ll save 50% or more and you could qualify for federal tax credit.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters now before the heating season begins and once a month during the heating season. A regular filter maintenance schedule can help increase the need for more energy due to dirty filters, which restrict the airflow.
  • Switching to a permanent or HEPA filter can reduce waste and keep the spread of illness-causing bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen in check.

While you’re at it … if you have ceiling fans installed in the house, get out the ladder and switch the direction of the blades to winter mode, or a clockwise direction, which moves warm air near the ceiling down through the living space.

2. Maintain Your Water Heater

As with any other main system in your house, doing a check-up on your water heater before the winter season can save you time, money and frustration.

  • Turn down the water heater from the factory – set 140 degrees F to 120 degrees or lower, reducing energy costs and preventing any potential scalding or water burns.
  • Flush the tank by turning off power from the fuse box and turning the thermostat to “pilot.” Turn off the cold water supply and attach a hose to the valve drain at the bottom of the heater, running the hose to a bucket or trough. Open the drain value and allow water to flow for five to seven minutes. Let the water stand in the bucket and check for mineral deposits. Continue draining until the water is clear, adding cold water to the heater, if needed. Unhook the hose, close the drain valve, turn on the water supply and let the tank re-fill. Remember to bleed air by opening up the hot water faucet in the house. Once the water is hot, it’s safe to turn the power back on from the fuse box.
  • Replacing a tanked water heater with a tankless water heater can save you this step, save money, and can also qualify you for a tax credit.

3. Get the Fireplace Ready

Whether you have a fuel-burning stove or an insert, make sure your fireplace is in running condition.

  • Examine the doors and gaskets of the wood stove or fireplace insert for a tight seal.
  • Have the chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Buy wood or fuel in bulk, a supply for at least half of the winter season, if not more.
  • Check grates for damage and replace if needed.
  • Check the pilot and natural gas supply on inserts.

While you’re at it … get out those sweaters and dress warmer for the colder weather. “Personal heaters” such as fleece vests and jackets, long-sleeved shirts and cozy wool or cotton sweaters can add up to four degrees of warmth directly where it’s needed. Who knew?

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next winterizing project. From heaters to hoses and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Fall Checklist, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Easy, Economical Ways to Winterize Your Home

Winterize Your Home in 3 Simple Steps - Part 1

It’s coming … winter weather is on its way, and according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Indianapolis area is preparing for a colder than normal season, with above normal snowfall … at least through February!

We’ve put together three easy tasks you can accomplish now to protect your home and property from winter’s approaching chill — and even save you time and money next spring, too.

1. Keep Garden Hoses & Air Conditioning Lines from Freezing

Water left in hoses or pipes can freeze in the cold, which can damage or even burst the equipment, especially if they’re going to be left outdoors.

  • Start by turning off water spigots and water shutoff valves to garden hoses and air conditioning units.
  • Remove any hose attachments like sprinklers or spray nozzles, and disconnect hoses from water spigots or air conditioning units.
  • Un-kink hoses and drain water, allowing some time for the water to drip out completely
  • Looping a hose in a circle prevents it from kinking during storage; it also helps to push any remaining water out.
  • Prevent hoses from cracking, freezing or kinking by storing them indoors, or outdoors in the warmest location (next to the house, for instance), in a large bucket or on a hose hanger.

While you’re at it … now’s a great time to remove air conditioning units from windows, vacuum the inside and put them away in storage, or cover an outdoor air conditioning unit with a tarp or air conditioner cover.

2. Winterize Outdoor Furniture

Most patio furniture and accents are made to remain outdoors during the winter, yet it’s still a good idea to prepare it for the harsh weather ahead. Plan to cover all of it with a tarp until spring.

  • Give powder-coated aluminum furniture extra protection from rust by giving it a wash, touching up any scratches with car paint and applying an automotive wax.
  • Remove any rust from wrought iron furniture and give it a coat of exterior spray paint designed for use specifically for wrought iron.
  • Power wash plastic furniture and dry completely. Consider giving it a coat of spray paint designed for plastic, too – and make plans to store it inside, to prevent it from becoming brittle.
  • Brush off or vacuum cushions and umbrellas and wash off mildew and mold with soap that’s meant to be used for outdoor fabrics. Plan to store foam-stuffed cushions and the fabric part of umbrellas indoors.
  • Teak furniture wears well in the elements, which gives it a weathered patina that many homeowners prize. However, you can maintain its original color by giving it a coat of specialty oil at least once a year. Revive other painted or stained wood furniture with a recommended acrylic paint.
  • Store natural rattan pieces indoors and keep dry. Synthetic wicker furniture is built to remain outdoors.
  • Store tables with tile or mosaic tops indoors.

 3. Install Storm Windows and Doors

When the wind starts to blow, the extra protection from storm windows and doors can increase the energy efficiency of your home by 45%!

  • If your storm windows and doors were prepared properly for storage in the spring, pull them out and install. Look for any damage that may have occurred in storage before hanging them.
  • If your windows are older, consider upgrading to new energy efficient windows, which could qualify you for a tax credit.
  • If you don’t have storm windows, hire a professional to install Low-E film directly to the glass of your windows and door windows.
  • Consider buying a do-it-yourself window insulation kit at your local home center. Plastic applied to windows (or doors) can add extra from drafts and the still air space helps your house hold its heat.

While you’re at it … get crafty with avoiding air drafts that can waste loads of energy with draft snakes. Make this remedy that dates back to the Great Depression yourself, using some scrap material sewed together and filled with sand or kitty litter. Or roll up a bath towel and place it in front of that space between the door and floor, or on top of a windowsill.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next winterizing project. From heaters and air conditioning equipment to pressure washers and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Fall Checklist, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

[INFOGRAPHIC] 8 Simple Home Winterization Tips

The majority of your outdoor equipment winterization should be done already, but now is the perfect time to begin home winterization. Below are eight relatively simple tips for sufficiently preparing your home for all that winter has in store! You’ll find what each task entails and then the tools needed to complete them – some require very little, which make for quick and easy projects. And this may be a no-brainer, but completing all these to-do’s will prepare your home for ice, snow, sleet and whatever else weather may bring. You’ll be glad you put in the extra elbow grease. Happy winterizing!

Winterization Tips

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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