How To "Holiday Proof" Your Home This Winter
There's a familiar chill in the air as the end of the year approaches -- and with it comes the promise of festive holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. But while you're preparing the decorations, inviting party guests and creating elaborate menus, don't forget to keep that chill in the air outdoors where it belongs. Here are some important tips for keeping your "holiday proofing" your home against cold, ice and other unfriendly seasonal tidings.
Ask Santa for Heating and Air Conditioning Repair
Heating and cooling services receive a lot of calls whenever the seasons force dramatic weather changes. Those aren't all disaster calls, either -- in many cases, they're requests from homeowners who want to make sure they're in good shape for the holiday season to come. If you're wise, you'll join that crowd by requesting an inspection of your HVAC system before you roll out the red carpet to guests.
Your heating and cooling services provider can "holiday proof" your home in a variety of ways. The most obvious benefit is the ability to keep your residence warm and cozy for family and friends without continually throwing logs into the fireplace. If you have trouble keeping out the cold, make sure all parts of your HVAC system are inspected, including the furnace, heat exchanger, and the ducts and filters that transport the heated air to its destinations. Even a simple problem such as malfunctioning thermostat can make all the difference between a happy holiday and an uncomfortably chilly one. Deal with any necessary heating and air conditioning repair issues now -- you'll be glad you did, especially if a white Christmas is in the forecast!
One nice fringe benefit of getting your HVAC system thoroughly inspected in cold weather is the fact that it should still be in good shape to handle your summertime cooling issues a few months later. This may spare you the need for additional heating and cooling services during another busy time of year for HVAC techs.
Give the Gift of a Safer Holiday Season
Even if your home feels reasonably warm, you need to make absolutely certain that your heating system offers a safe holiday for your loved ones and yourself. The biggest cause for concern here is the furnace, especially if the unit is many years old. That's because older furnaces don't necessarily have the automatic cut-off devices that deactivate them in case of trouble -- and trouble from a furnace can be deadly. Danger signs include soot collecting around the furnace, excessive condensation and/or rust, and a pilot light that burns yellow instead of blue. If you notice any of these symptoms, turn the furnace off and call your heating and cooling services provider.
You can help prevent the premature demise of your furnace by taking care of it, not just during the holiday season, but all year round. Schedule annual inspections, clean the unit off every year, and change the filter to allow more efficient operation.
Don't Just Wrap Gifts -- Wrap Your Pipes as Well
For many people, cooler weather is a cue to start stocking up on cheery, glittering gift wrapping paper for your holiday festivities. But if your nights dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, don't forget to apply some wrapping to your plumbing pipes as well. A burst pipe and a flooded home do not make for a very merry Christmas or happy Thanksgiving -- especially when you have guests staying over! Contrary to popular belief, it's not the expansion of the ice that causes the breakage; instead, it's the increase in pressure caused by the ice's tendency to narrow the waterway.
What do you wrap your pipes in to help prevent freezing? For most applications, foam insulation is the simplest and most effective answer. This product fits readily around most plumbing pipes and provides protection against temperature drops. Finish off the joints and elbows with duct tape and miter foam, since these are areas are prone to freezing as well. If you're really worried about your pipes' exposure to frigid air, consider using heat tape. This special kind of tape contains a heating element to keep the pipes at a certain temperature. Pipes that are in contact with the heated interior of your home may not need wrapping -- but they do depend on your HVAC system's ability to heat your home efficiently.
Jack Frost shouldn't be nipping at your nose while you're trying to enjoy the holiday season in your own home. Schedule the necessary heating and air conditioner repairs and maintenance, with a professional company such as Blue Ridge Services, wrap your pipes to your water supply from freezing up, and enjoy the holidays in comfort!