WINTER & GENERAL MAINTENANCE TIPS

November 16th, 2016 by Prashant Bhatia

Winter Tips:

  • Energy efficient curtains or blinds: In the winter, storm windows and black
    out curtains can reduce your heat loss by 25-50 percent.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors: to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Allowing faucets to drip: When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Unplug unused appliances: Turn off and unplug any appliances that do not need to stay on (i.e. washers and dryers); many appliances draw power even when they aren’t being used. FYI: Refrigerators are one of the biggest energy wasters.
  • Caulking: On a windy day feel for drafts around doors, windows and exterior walls near the floor, electrical outlets and plumbing. Seal these spaces with caulk and weather stripping to ensure that you’re not wasting energy on heat that escapes through leaks outside.
    Caulk works best on small gaps. For larger gaps you may want to use self-adhesive foam or your local hardware store consultant may have other suggestions.
  • Sealing thresholds: If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, you can either look into replacing the threshold or if that’s not practical look to insert a threshold seal. You should try and buy one that fits the opening exactly if possible. Otherwise buy the next size up and cut it to fit your door. You can find these at your local hardware store.

  • General Maintenance Tips:

  • Replace or clean furnace filters once a month: Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder, using more energy, and eventually breaking down.
  • Clean out lint trap to the dryer on a regular basis: Lint traps are one of the top ten reasons for house fires. Clean out the lint trip after every 3 to 4 drying cycles.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector: Install a carbon monoxide detector (CO Detector). Having a CO Detector is a good safety precaution to have in place and is also a recommendation by insurance companies.   There are several resources online that can be researched to identify the appropriate set up for your unit. Wikipedia is a great initial resource.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Have a portable fire extinguisher on hand. This is also a wise safety precaution and is recommended by insurance companies. Home Depot and Lowes carry fire extinguishers for home use.
  • Use plastic window kits to insulate your windows: In the winter, storm windows and black out curtains can reduce your heat loss by 25-50 percent. If your unit doesn’t have storm windows or energy efficient curtains, you can improve the windows ability to retain heat temporarily with plastic sheeting installed on the inside.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors: to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Allowing faucets to drip: When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Follow manufacturers’ maintenance recommendations for gas appliances: To help keep your gas appliances operating safely and efficiently, a qualified professional should inspect your gas appliances and venting systems at least every year. Not performing regular maintenance could result in inefficient appliance operation, and in some cases, dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide.


  • Additional information on maintaining gas appliances to prevent carbon monoxide:

    • Vacuum around burner compartments, and inspect and replace furnace filters on forced-air units or central heating systems according to manufacturer instructions.
    • Make sure all appliance doors or panels are installed or reinstalled after cleaning or servicing before using.
    • Never store anything near a gas appliance that might interfere with normal appliance airflow.
    • Assure that appliance venting is intact and unblocked. Have all gas appliances and venting repairs performed by a qualified professional.
    • Where snow can accumulate on the ground or rooftops, ensure that gas appliance intake and exhaust vents are clear of obstructions.
    • Never use your gas oven or range burner top for space heating.
    • Gas appliance maintenance is always the homeowner’s responsibility.
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