Fall is well underway, and we all know what that means. In the heart of America, it's that time—start prepping your home for the impending cold weather. Here are our three quick and easy tips to get you and your family one step closer to a warm and energy-efficient winter.
1. Reverse your ceiling fans.
Your ceiling fan is designed to blow air down from the ceiling. When the curved blades spin clockwise, you get wind chill (the one your weatherman talks about). This cools you off during hot summer months. Some people think you don’t run ceiling fans when it’s cold outside but not you! You’re a savvy homeowner who knows that that isn’t necessarily the case.
In fact, you can actually save energy and help keep your house warm this winter with your fan, and it’s far from time-consuming. Just reverse your fan so your blades spin counter-clockwise. This counteracts rising warm air, pushing it down to help to keep your home warm.
Less warm air can escape out chimneys and more remains closer to the floor, which is good because people don’t walk around on their ceiling. Your thermostat isn’t tasked with as big of a challenge to keep your house warm then, and you can save yourself some money.
Doing this on most ceiling fans is as simple as flipping a switch. Your typical fan has a switch that determines the direction of the fan, and all you have to do is turn it the other way and bam! Money saved.
2. Clean out dryer lint.
This might be one of the most important tips of all, even though it’s primary purpose isn’t to save energy. There are 2,900 instances of house fires every year that start with the dryer. Lint buildup in dryers and dryer vents is extremely flammable, and fires resulting from neglecting this easy home maintenance task accounts for more than $30 million of property damage every year.
This becomes especially important in winter because heavier fabrics used to stay warm throughout the coldest season naturally produce more lint, which typically increases risk. A proper inspection of your lint screen before every load is the right place to start, but it is not enough on its own.
Like air pollutants to a cheap fiberglass filter, plenty of lint can slide right through that screen, which is why a regular vent cleaning is necessary. Luckily, we got another quick and easy fix for you. It’s as simple as disconnecting your dryer from the vents and then using a brush and vacuum to clear out whatever buildup is in there. Look for a #FilterEasyFix live video on Thursday for step-by-step instructions.
3. Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Ensuring your safety alarms such as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are fully functioning is not just a winter thing. It’s something you should always do. Always have extra batteries around for all devices and test at least once a month for functionality.
House fires are more common in the winter for a myriad of reasons. Making sure that your smoke detectors are prepared to do their job is a crucial first step in winter fire prevention.
If you run a gas dryer (or any other appliance that uses natural gas), which isn’t a bad idea as they tend to be a more efficient, a carbon monoxide alarm is a must. It’s also a good idea to have a power-free CO detector available as well. These are cheaper and contain no electronics that can malfunction. The only downside is they don’t audibly warn you if there’s CO present, so maintain one as a backup but not as a primary alert system.
We know you’re busy and might not have time for any huge home improvement projects this weekend. You can do all of these in under an hour and begin saving energy and being safer immediately.
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