Home winter prep tips. What to do before it gets cold

How To Prep For Winter Before It Hits

September 20, 2016 by Michelle

This post sharing home winter prep tips is sponsored by Sears Home Services.
Home Winter Prep Tips: How to prep for winter when it still feels like summer.

The calendar may say it’s summer, and the thermometer may still think it’s summer, but winter is on its way. Already, as soon as the sun sinks behind trees, the temperature dips significantly in the evenings. Although I sometimes still use the air conditioning during the day, all too soon, the furnace will run regularly instead.

I already had my HVAC checkup, and I’m grateful that Sears has a special running for an HVAC preventive maintenance check for just $89.99 through November 5, 2016. This does a check on both the heating system (furnace, boiler, or heat pump) to ensure it’s ready for winter and your air conditioner to monitor it at the end of the season. It’s the first of my home winter prep tips that I completed, in fact!

It was so easy for me. I called to set up and appointment, and the HVAC tech showed up on time and without a long lead time. He communicated exactly what he did throughout and reassured me that although I wasn’t sure how well my heating and cooling system functioned, they actually work just fine. Yay to not needing to replace them (yet)!

As with all Sears Services, you can call 1-888-213-2746 to schedule your appointment or book online. Either was is easy peasy. I love that Sears also offers an annual contract where they check your systems twice a year for a $149.99 fee, which works out to $75 per visit. You have the option of selecting that instead of the $89.99 special, as well. An ounce of prevention, well… you can imagine that I don’t want to replace my HVAC system quite yet!

That said, if you are one of the lucky people who realizes that it’s time for a new HVAC system, Sears has you covered there, too. You can save up to $2,325 on a new HVAC system until November 15, 2016, too! A new HVAC system is worth it when you need one. ENERGY STAR® qualified cooling equipment, when properly sized and installed, can save up to 20% on your annual energy bills with a properly sealed duct system. Knowing what I pay in heating bills, that’s huge!

So what do you need to do before the temperatures plummet? These easy home winter prep tips share exactly what you do – and don’t – need to do.

Home Winter Prep Tips

You don’t need to cover your air conditioner unit. Really. In fact, if your HVAC is a heat pump, it runs all year. Even if it isn’t, covering the air conditioner seals in moisture. Water is not my friend. That water speeds corrosion and lessens your system life. Instead, if you live where there’s lots of snow (hello, Chicago!), place a board over the fan. That’s it!

Change your filter. Ok, so this isn’t something you do just to prep for winter. You should be changing your filter every few months. I change mine on the first day of each new season so I remember if I’ve done it recently or not. It’s amazing how quickly they get dirty. A clogged filter means you’re wasting money on a system that’s working too hard!

Set your temps for winter. We purchased a programmable thermostat, and I can’t recommend it enough. This allows me to set the temps to go down at night when we’re sleeping, but also during the day when we aren’t home. Why maintain a consistent temperature if we aren’t appreciating it. I also turn the thermostat down further as winter goes on and my blood thickens, saving even more money.

Turn off your furnace when you aren’t home. There’s a myth that setting your a/c to a higher temp (or furnace to a lower temp) is more efficient than just turning it off completely when you aren’t home. Especially when it comes to your a/c, it always saves more money to turn it off completely. To prevent damaging pipes, don’t turn your furnace off if it’s too cold, but especially when I travel, I set it to the minimum safe temperature before I go. That programmable thermostat I have? I can turn my HVAC on and off and adjust the temps when I’m gone to ensure I maximize savings and have my house comfortable again when I get home.

Don’t close your vents. We all have that room we don’t use as much. It’s tempting to try to save money by closing the vents in that room so you aren’t heating it all winter long. Your HVAC system is set to heat your whole house. Closing vents can increase air pressure in ducts. That air has to go somewhere, and often it creates leaks at the vent seams so your hot (or cold) air doesn’t make it into the rooms it should. Leave those vents alone!

Adjust furniture so they aren’t covering vents. Our house is set up in a challenging configuration with regards to vents. We don’t have a ton of space, but there are vents (what seems like) everywhere. When we first moved in, I realized on the first floor alone, we accidentally covered four of the seven vents. Those covered vents blew air straight into furniture and cooled (or heated) the furniture instead of the rooms. That’s a huge waste. We’ve moved things around now, and the vents get air where it should be!

Get an HVAC checkup. There is so much that can go wrong with your HVAC system. Sears checks all the important parts and cleans or repairs them as necessary to ensure they’re ready for winter. Anything not working problem can not only cost you money, but it can be dangerous, too! The better you maintain your system, the more likely it is to have a longer life.

What are your best home winter prep tips?

Home winter prep tips. What to do before it gets cold

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