Let’s hope the ghosts and goblins that visit your home this October are the cute little neighbors trick-or-treating. When temperatures drop, though, it’s time to pay attention to the new sounds and scents in your home, and use your spider senses to avoid a Nightmare on Elm Street.
A Chill in the Air
If you have to wear a sweater inside your home, you may have air leaks or poor insulation which will make your heating bill rise like the hair on the back of your neck.
Before it gets too cold, take a walk around the entire exterior of the home and seal any potential air leaks. Caulk around windows, doors, siding and joints. If that doesn’t help, you may need to improve the insulation in your attic. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs.
Did You Hear That?
New noises, such as scampering and scratching can mean you have unwanted company. Small rodents love the warmth of big appliances, drawers and inside temps. You can keep them out by sealing any openings around your house. Utility openings, where wiring or pipes come into the foundation or siding of your home, are common entry points, as well as areas around gas meters, dryer vents and outdoor facets. Small openings as tiny as 1/4 inch are big enough to allow in mice. The larger the gap, the larger the pest that can enter your home. You can use caulk, expandable foam, copper mesh or even cement to seal up any of these areas.
No, I don’t mean pumpkin-scented candles or diffusers. With little fresh air flowing inside during the colder months, keep track of suspicious odors, like dead pests, moldy humidifiers or wet fiberglass insulation.
Bats in Your Belfry/Chimney?
Probably not, but birds do love to nest up there. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends having your wood-burning chimney cleaned and inspected once a year. The main reason is to avoid a chimney fire. Over time, your chimney becomes clogged with creosote – – a natural tar-like by-product of burning wood – – which is highly combustible.
You also want to avoid Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from a blocked chimney or closed flue. CO is responsible for thousands of deaths in the US each year. With a gas fireplace, there is no day-to-day maintenance, but you should arrange for an annual check by a pro.
Blood and Gutters
Okay, no blood. But you need to clean out your gutters and downspouts after the leaves have fallen. You can flush them with water, as clogged gutters can cause major problems in months ahead, such as ice dams, leaky roofs or water damage. Guess what? Pests, rodents and mold love to live in gunked-up gutters.
Who ya gonna call?
Your HVAC service to schedule a furnace check. It’s best to find small furnace trouble before it causes big and pricey problems later on when it’s cold and they are busiest.