Prepare your house for cold weather

Homes using natural gas and electricity for heat will both see significant increases in heating costs, as high as 13 percent, from last year, according to the U. S. Department of Energy. Being proactive and taking steps to prepare your house for the winter will help lower your utility bills, increase efficiency and ultimately protect your investment. From window maintenance to furnace inspection, learn what you need to do in order to thoroughly prepare your home.

“Preparing your home for harsh winter weather doesn’t only include having a working heater,” says Jon Hill, general manager of Hill & Company. “There are some key actions you can take around your home to combat cold weather and even save money.”

Hill & Company, a locally-owned heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance and installation company, is offering the following tips to make sure your home is prepared for winter weather.

  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It is recommended that smoke alarm batteries be replaced twice a year, and if your smoke alarm is between five and 10 years old, it should be replaced. Make sure there is at least one alarm on each level of your house, and one near each bedroom. The same placement recommendations go for carbon monoxide detectors, as well. Try to keep both detectors away from gas appliances and fireplaces, as each give off small amounts of carbon monoxide when first turned on and could trigger a false alarm.
  • Make your home airtight. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 10 percent of air that leaks from a house exits through the windows. Do a thorough visual inspection of the exterior and caulk window frames with gaps wider than a nickel to reduce air leakage. Use weather stripping around exterior doors to prevent cold air entering the home. Lastly, check for gaps around any pipes and fill them in with foam sealant or caulk.
  • Maintain your furnace properly. Enlist a licensed HVAC professional to do a thorough inspection of your furnace to ensure the system is clean and functioning properly. Purchase enough filters to last through the winter and change them monthly. Furnaces operating with clogged filters won’t operate as efficiently, causing energy bills to rise.
  • Add insulation. Just like anything else, insulation deteriorates over time, becoming less efficient at retaining your home’s cold air. Do a visual check of your attic and evaluate the need for added insulation. Experts recommend roughly 12 inches of insulation in all areas.
  • Check for old pilots. Be sure to know what type and how old your furnace is. Many older systems have standing pilots that can only be checked and repaired by a professional. It may even need to be completely replaced. If you have a loved one who is elderly, there is a chance they might be using one of these older systems. Remind them to have a professional check their system, as they may be unable to do repairs themselves.

About Hill & Co.
Established in 1967, Hill & Company is Oklahoma’s premier heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company. Located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, they are a family owned and operated company dedicated to customer service and the highest standards. Hill & Company services all brands of plumbing, heating and air conditioning equipment and proudly stand behind Trane equipment, a world leader in air conditioning systems. Hill & Company has earned the designation of Trane Comfort Specialist.