We may be known as the Sunshine State, but that doesn’t mean that Florida does not experience some cold weather in the winter months. While we may worry less about blizzards or temperatures falling below zero, you still want to have your furnace up and running properly to prevent chilling nights. There are other ways you can winterize your home for Florida winters as well. In this blog, we will go over the most important considerations to make when preparing your home for this winter.
Check Your Heating System
Now that the temperatures are slowly starting to drop, it’s time to start scheduling your HVAC maintenance appointments to ensure your system is up and running when you start to need heat. Before you use your furnace for the first time this season, it’s important that you check the burners, tighten electrical connections, lubricate the system, check the controls, check for carbon monoxide, and clean the blower motor. Someone who has DIY-ed their HVAC system before may be able to do all these things themselves, but we don’t recommend it if you don’t know what you are doing. North Central Florida Heating and Air would be happy to take care of the preventative maintenance of your HVAC system for you for an affordable price. That way, you can have peace of mind that a professional has determined that your furnace is safe and effective before you need it.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your heating vents are unobstructed, so as you go through your house, make sure no furniture, curtains, or rugs are covering them. This is an important step to ensuring that you have proper airflow throughout your home.
If you have a propane or oil furnace, you will need to make sure that the fuel tank is full and ready to go. Alternatively, if you furnace is gas or you have an electric heat pump, you will not have to worry about fuel at your home.
Prepare Your Plumbing System
In some places across the country, it is important to take steps to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting during the winter. While this does not often happen in Florida, it’s still a good idea to pay your plumbing system some attention before winter begins, as proper insulation could save you a lot of energy and money.
If your water heat features exposed plumbing, it’s a good idea to insulate them. THis helps the water to heat up more quickly. Additionally, any exposed plumbing running through places such as your attic or crawl space that are largely unoccupied should be insulated. This reduces the amount of exposure they face to the elements.
Add Insulation to Your Walls
Beyond your pipes, you also want to insulate the walls of your home. It’s possible to insulate even your finished walls, but it is often more cost effective to insulate the attic specifically, as heat rises to the top. This can be done by a professional or a more experienced DIY-er.
In addition to the attic, it is a good idea to insulate other areas in the home to prevent air leaks and improve heating efficiency. You should add foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls. Additionally, installing an insulating jacket over your water heater will further reduce any heat loss you might experience.
Seal Around Your Doors and Windows
One of the most common ways heat escapes from your home is through air leaks from around the doors and windows. To determine if your door is airtight, shut a piece of paper into it. If you can pull the paper out and it doesn’t tear, air is escaping.
Luckily, this problem is easily fixed: replace your weatherstripping. All you have to do is measure your door and invest in about 10 percent more of the product to ensure that you have enough. Remove the worn weatherstripping and clean the surface before you apply the new one to ensure that it lasts for years to come.
Additionally, your windows may be leaking air at the hinges, slides, or between the panels. You can determine whether air is leaking by lighting a candle and placing it near the window. If the flame or smoke swirls, you know there is air flowing into the home. To fix this issue, caulk the areas around the joints of your window.
Check Your Roof and Gutters
Though we don’t generally have blizzards here in Florida, it is still a good idea to make sure your gutters and roof are prepared for any winter weather. Contact a roofing professional to check your roof and replace any damaged or missing shingles, make sure the gutters are stable, and check out your chimney.
Are you in need of heating and cooling services in Gainesville? We can help! Contact North Central Florida Heating and Air for a free estimate.