The mercury is dropping, heavy coats are getting pulled out of storage and people are turning on their heaters for the first time in months. Now that the seasons are definitely changing, it’s time to give your home the full once-over in preparation for colder weather. The folks who bring you British Gas HomeCare offer a number of helpful winter prep tips to help you get your home ready for months of cozy indoor dwelling.
Kicking Off the Season
Before you snap on the heat, devote some time to looking things over, cleaning them up and making certain all the mechanics are ship-shape for the season.
If it’s been a long stretch since your heater was last run, it may smell a bit “off” when you turn it on for the first time in a season. Instead of waiting for the coldest day of the year to hit, try to pick a mild autumn day to test out your system. Throw open the windows to allow for a free flow of fresh air. Before turning your system on, you might want to give it a light surface cleaning, so it doesn’t heat up six months of collected dust and disburse that luscious scent throughout your home!
If you have a forced heating unit, it’s a good idea to clean or replace its large filter. Depending on the type of filter you use, you may want to change it out each month during the winter season, when your heating system is heavily operated.
British Gas HomeCare winter prep tips for forced heating units include adding foam wraps around outdoor pipes associated with the units, to insulate them better from the cold weather. It’s also suggested to (carefully!) run your hand across the front of your radiators to check for any cold patches.Â
Ensure your gas boiler’s water pressure is registering between 1 and 1.5 on its gauge. Check the pilot light on your boiler (and on any other appliances with pilot lights) for a bright blue flame. Yellow pilot light flames indicate the possibility of carbon monoxide leakage, which is a very serious matter. Speaking of which, as long as you’re checking on your gas appliances, you may as well check each of the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in the home, swapping out any failed batteries with fresh replacements.Â
As long as you have fresh batteries on hand, consider replacing the batteries powering your programmable thermostat panels, especially if they haven’t been changed out in the last year or two.
Set programmable thermostats on boilers and central heating systems to coincide with your family’s schedule, so that heat is automatically turned down as people leave the house for the day, and turned back up when family members return home.
Consider installing thermostatic radiator valves. These little knobs convert your one-temperature radiator into a variable heating device, which can save you energy and, therefore, help reduce your fuel bill. A valve placed on the tip end of your radiator displays a series of numbers; the higher the number, the warmer the temperature will become. Leave the valve untouched unless you have become cold in the room.Â
Insulate and Check VentsÂ
There’s almost no end to the amount of additional insulation you can heap on inside a home’s walls or roofline. Anytime you add another blanket of insulation, you’re buying another layer of energy savings and a slightly cozier night.
Check around the edges of doors and windows for cracks and crevices where precious heat could escape. Plug these fissures up so that every molecule of warmth is kept inside your home.
When’s the last time you cleaned your air vents? Heat that is released through vents can be obstructed by dust bunnies and other matter blocking its free flow. Check all locations in the home where warmed air is released, and clean those areas thoroughly.Â
Having a British Gas HomeCare plan of your own will mean that you can leave it to the professionals to address many of the issues discussed here, taking a load off of your to-do list, and at no extra charge. Whether you let the experts manage the details, or take the DIY approach and handle these tasks yourself, do be sure that these winter preparation tips are followed so you can nestle in over the winter months without a care in the world.
M.S.Ross regularly writes about energy saving deals currently available on the internet and recommends website from uSwitch www.uswitch.com/boilers/guides/british-gas-homecare/ for all the latest information.
This article is copyright free.