Even though this summer has been scorchingly hot, no one probably wants to admit that winter is on its way. And yet, you can see the signs: the sun sets earlier, school is back in session, and a slight chill in the evening may even force you to take a light sweater out of your closet. Indeed, winter will be here before you know it, leaving the heat wave of 2012 to be a nostalgic memory as you shiver around a mug of cocoa. It’s all too easy to live in denial for the first few months of autumn, refusing to admit that you’ll soon be shoveling snow. But now is the time to get your home ready for winter; with a few early adjustments, you can maximize comfort without your energy bill skyrocketing. Here are some favorite tricks and tips.
Get an Inspection
You’ve probably ignored your thermostat for the past few months, cranking the A/C up as high as it can go. Think about how stiff you are when you wake up after a long sleep; your furnace has been slumbering for months now, and it’s a good idea to have it inspected before you need it. Call your local HVAC experts and have them check the system; they will clean the filters, inspect the pipes, and make sure that there are no dangerous leaks or breakages. The HVAC inspector can also give you a hand in weatherizing your air conditioner. If you drain the water out of any hoses and pipes, then it won’t freeze during the winter and damage the unit.
It may seem counterintuitive to drop $100 or more when you’re trying to save money; however, an inefficient furnace will cost you far more in the long run, and preventative maintenance is almost always easier (and thus cheaper) than repairing a broken machine. Ask about installing a programmable thermostat; they are easy to install, and make temperature control a no-brainer.
Reverse the Fan
Your trusty ceiling fan has been circulating the air this summer, creating small breezes and providing temporary relief from the blistering heat. But did you know that your fan can also help in the winter? Many ceiling fans have a switch that reverses the rotational direction; if you engage this function and run the fan backwards, the blades will re-circulate warm air back into the room.
Seal Your Windows
Windows are a weak point in a home’s insulation system; they’re a prime suspect for pesky drafts. You can install storm windows, which help reduce unwanted air flow and keep the freezing cold winds outside where they belong. However, if you’re looking for a more low-cost, do-it-yourself method (or your storm windows are on back-order), Build It Solar* swears by bubble wrap on the windows. That’s right—regular bubble wrap packing material. If you spray a thin film of water on your windows and press the wrap on so that the bubbles are facing the glass, you’ll have a cheap layer of insulating air pockets.
While winter is a bummer, don’t fret: summer will come around again! It’s important to plan ahead for winter, even though it might feel like you’re jinxing a nice warm autumn. The cold will come, and early preparation will help get you through it with warm toes and a reasonable energy bill.
Arctic Air is an established Calgary HVAC and Refrigeration company, with over 20 years experience in the industry. When you’re looking for top quality workmanship and consistent and reliable service, consider the expertise that Arctic Air Refrigerations, Air Conditioning and Heating Ltd. can bring to the equation.