by Jenni Barnett
on Saturday, October 28th, 2017 at 6:13am.
With winter just a few months away, it’s time vital to prioritize any lingering home improvement do-it-yourself projects owners have been meaning to get around to. Colder weather often means that outdoor jobs, in particular, become difficult or even impossible to start, let alone complete. Moreover, many of the DIY jobs homeowners may want to get around to have to do with winterizing their houses or properties in some way, so getting those efforts underway as soon as possible is crucial.
One of the biggest goals homeowners are likely to have as they look to winterize their homes is trying to save money on their heating bills, according to the Family Handyman. The good news is this is not as intensive as most may expect.
One very easy, and inexpensive, way to make sure a home heating system is running at peak efficiency throughout the winter is to replace the filters on their furnaces. For homes with central air conditioning, swapping out the filters on those systems at the same time might be advisable as well. In most cases, the filters themselves won’t cost much from a local hardware store, and homeowners will be able to find simple instructions for how to swap them out online.
Many homeowners may not know exactly how inefficient their heating (and cooling) efforts are simply because they haven’t conducted an energy audit. Doing so will help them identify potential weak points in their homes, where heated or cooled air is escaping around the clock. Home experts note the collective size of all the little cracks, holes and fissures throughout a home can add up to be the size of a small window. Fortunately, once these weak points have been identified, they’re often easy to seal up.
Furthermore, those whose houses have chimneys should ensure these are effectively sealed up for the same reasons.
Keep It Going
In addition, homeowners would also be wise to make sure they know some of the basics related to home heating and cooling maintenance, according to Constellation. This kind of studying can lead to lots of savings throughout the coming winter and beyond, in terms of both dollars and the headaches that can arise when things go wrong and owners have to wait for a professional to show up and fix the problem.
Even simply knowing what to look for when working with these systems – identifying a filter that needs to be swapped out, whether pieces of insulation need to be replaced, etc. – can go a long way toward helping homeowners stay in front of potential difficulties. Generally speaking, experts say these systems should be inspected about once a month, and filters, in particular, should probably be replaced every three months or so during the winter.
Outdoor Items to Winterize
While homeowners would be wise to make sure their homes are running efficiently, there are other items on their properties that also need to be winterized, the Family Handyman further noted. Perhaps one of the most important in this regard is a home sprinkler system or hoses that have been running out of outdoor spigots for most of the summer and fall.
Clearing all the water from these lines is something homeowners often leave to professionals, but some have had success doing it themselves with compressed air. Undertaking such a job for the first time might be daunting, but crunching the numbers and determining how much compressed air they will need isn’t all that difficult. Here, too, online instructions can be a great resource.
Likewise, winterizing other outdoor equipment like lawn mowers, grills, central air conditioning units and so on is a good idea. Information on how to do those things, as well, can be found online. Effectively, the best advice homeowners can follow here is to ensure any mechanical components they intend to (or have to) leave outside all winter long are effectively winterized.
Know What Not to Do
While there are plenty of home DIY efforts that can be undertaken with relative ease and maybe a little studying, but experts also caution that some jobs should be reserved exclusively for professionals, according to Curb Appeal. When it comes to winterizing, perhaps the biggest of these DIY jobs would involve maintenance on any appliances that connect to gas lines, such as hot water heaters or stoves. The reason why is obvious: Natural gas can be very dangerous and only those certified to work with it should do so.
Indeed, when homeowners suspect they have a bigger problem with their heating or cooling systems than just old filters or torn insulation, HVAC professionals should be called in. This isn’t the kind of job for even a handy homeowner, simply because these systems are highly complex and can be quite difficult to repair. In addition, repairing these systems may sometimes involve electrical issues that can be quite dangerous for those who aren’t totally aware of how to navigate them.
The good news is that, generally speaking, many homeowners will be aware of their limitations when it comes to what they can and can’t do, at least after a cursory inspection of the system or issue they’re trying to address. And if they’re on the fence about whether this is the kind of job they can tackle themselves, it’s probably a better idea to err on the side of caution.
With all these issues in mind, the best place for homeowners to start at this time of year is to simply assess their homes’ systems and see where the systems stand. In a lot of cases, owners might not have all that much to do in the first place. However, getting an understanding of what’s needed can go a long way toward informing future work, and whether going the DIY route is wise for them.
Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.