Dear Readers:

With the cold snaps we have had lately, in Thurston County Washington,  I would like to point out a few tips to help protect your home against the winter months still ahead.

Replace worn out weather strips. 

Worn out weather stripping around windows and doors can increase your home heating costs. Weather strips are easy to replace, and should pay for themselves in a very short time.

Schedule checkups for all home heating systems.

Regular maintenance can help furnaces, wood stoves, chimneys and other home heating components stay in top working order. Most experts recommend that you schedule an annual inspection by a qualified professional for each system, but service intervals may vary from one system or manufacturer to another, so play it safe and check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer’s service rep for your unit’s maintenance guidelines.

Stock up on furnace filters.

Dirty furnace filters waste energy. They also force your furnace to work harder to heat your home. Your owner’s manual should explain what types of filters are best for your furnace, and how often they need to be changed. Keep in mind that a high-efficiency air filter will trap more dirt than a conventional filter and may need to be replaced more frequently to keep your furnace from overheating.

Protect exterior water valves.

Hose bibs located in an unheated garage or on the outside of your home may need protection to prevent freezing damage. Inexpensive insulating covers are available at most home centers, but it’s still a good idea to shut off the water supply connected to the hose bib from inside the home. After shutting off the water supply, open each hose bib to allow any remaining water to drain. Disconnect hoses and store them inside for the winter.

Inspect the insulation in attics and crawl spaces.

Over time, fiberglass insulation panels can sag away from rafters, joists and wall cavities, allowing cold air to penetrate your home. Also check to see if any of your heating system duct work has become loose or disconnected so you could be heating the crawlspace a defect I see quite often.

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