With fall upon us, it’s time to prepare your home for the changing season. Here are some tips from Consumers’ Checkbook's Kevin Brasler as the weather cools down.
- Replace HVAC filters: HVAC filters should be replaced every two-to-three months, depending on the regular use of the HVAC system.
“By doing that, you’re going to save a lot of headaches down the road,” Brasler said. “Your system will operate more efficiently, it will be less maintenance, and it won’t have to work as hard to heat and cool your home.”
- Clear out the drains and gutters: Clearing out the drains and gutters will keep water from seeping into your home.
“The reality is that most of us can solve basement water problems just by getting our gutters cleaned out and extending the downspouts far away from home,” Brasler said.
- Hire a plumber to check the sump pump backup battery: Hire a plumber to make sure the sump and pump battery is working properly before the weather gets colder.
“Once you’ve wrapped up all your gardening needs, go ahead and shut off any outdoor faucets and bleed them so that you don’t have a pipe freeze during the weekend,” Brasler said.
To check the sump pump, you should close the valve off your outdoor faucets and then open the spigots to drain the remaining water from the pipes.
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- Furnace inspection: Some people may want to have their furnace inspected before cranking up the heat, but Brasler said to be wary of long-term contracts.
“A lot of HVAC companies, they want to sign you on for these maintenance agreements where they come out twice a year to inspect and clean and service your equipment,” Brasler said. “I think that’s probably overkill for most homes.”
- Dial down temperatures: By dialing down temperatures 10-15 degrees when you’re out of the house, you can save up to 15% on your annual energy bill.
Most of the tips can be done by yourself, but if you need a professional, Checkbook.org offers ratings for contractors, plumbers, electricians and gutter cleaning services.