Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 2

by James Florence


In addition to weatherproofing, another crucial part of preparing your home for the winter season is inspecting and servicing heating fixtures. Photo: Bayhill Heat & Air, Inc. (2014)

While Part 1 of this blog series outlined important weatherproofing measures to protect your home against water and air leaks, this segment addresses a second, equally crucial aspect of winter home preparation:

Make sure vital heating systems are performing safely and efficiently.

There are two fixtures you don’t want to break down in the middle of winter: your central heating system and your water heater. Losing either of these crucial home components can make for an extremely uncomfortable situation, so it’s a good idea to make sure they’re in good working order before the cold weather sets in.

Many people take their central heating systems for granted, but being proactive about maintenance is crucial for ensuring both efficient performance and safety. When a furnace isn’t properly maintained, it can cease to function in an efficient manner, leading to increased energy bills. Even more important, a malfunctioning furnace can represent a potential fire or carbon monoxide hazard, so make sure you have yours inspected and serviced by a professional prior to winter.

Water heaters
While it’s used all year round, there’s no more important time for a water heater to be working properly than in winter. Since annual maintenance is crucial for maximizing a water heater’s operating life span, consider doing this in fall to ensure optimal performance through the cold weather season. In addition to draining and flushing the tank, test the temperature and pressure valve for proper functioning.

Wood-burning fireplaces are less common in the Bay Area, but they’re still found in some homes. While a fireplace has less working parts than a central heating system, it poses just as much of a safety concern. To prevent potential hazards like chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning, be sure to have your wood-burning fireplace professionally inspected and cleaned in the fall.

Along with the use of heating fixtures during winter comes the increased chance for house fires, gas leaks and other potential threats. To safeguard yourself and your loved ones, make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are placed throughout the house and functioning properly. Furthermore, have at least one fire extinguisher in the house that’s rated for all fire types (look for an A-B-C rating on the label). Make sure all fire extinguishers are in working condition and replace any that are more than six years old.

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