Fall To-Do’s: 10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for Winter

  1. Check Your Furnace

    Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. Change your furnace filters, too.Click here for offers.

  2. Remove Garden Hoses from Faucets

    Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets.  This prevents water back-up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls that can be caused by leaving hoses attached.  Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.  Have exterior connections inspected by a professional if have concerns about damage or leaks.

  3. Drain Your Sprinkler System

    Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  4. De-Gunk Your Gutters

    Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk.

  5. Direct Your Drainage

    Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

  6. Seal Air Leaks

    Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

  7. Eyeball Your Roof

    If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

  8. Prune Plants

    Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your home’s exterior during high winds.

  9. Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over

    To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.  Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar.

  10. Clean and Stow Your Mower

    If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts.

Tips for Getting Your Furnace Winter Ready

Follow these six tips to help make sure your furnace is ready for winter.

  1. Tune up before you turn on.

    Every year before turning on your heating system a check-up should be performed by a professional.Click here for our latest offers.

  1. Change your air filters.

    Homeowners should do this every 30 days or once a quarter depending on the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your heating system.

  1. Check your thermostat.

    Turn it on to test it. If it’s been working all through A/C season it will most likely continue to work when you change over to heating.

  1. Clean your air ducts.

    If your air filters get dirty quickly, if someone in your home has a compromised immune system or if you’ve recently finished a large remodeling project, you might want to have your ducts cleaned. Otherwise, once you turn on the heating system, dust or debris in the ducts will blow around.

  1. If the furnace is more than 20 years old, it might be time to buy a new one.

    Age is just one factor among many when it comes to the decision to buy a new furnace. Homeowners should also consider how many repairs the system has already needed and their cost, how much future repairs might cost and how long you plan to remain in your home.

  1. Consider and annual maintenance program for your unit.

    If your furnace is getting up there in age, having regular cleanings can help to extend the life of your equipment.  Atlas Butler offers several maintenance plan options.Click here for more information on our Comfort Club Memberships

TIPS ON HOW TO WARM UP COLD BASEMENTS

Basements can be tough to keep warm.  Warm air rises and the insulation of the ground on three or four sides of a home keep the space MUCH cooler.  Adding return air vents can help the balance of air flow however it likely will not help increase the basement temperature and can also detract from the effectiveness of cooling the upstairs of the house.

The best thing to do is to ensure the joints are sealed properly and insulate the exposed pipes in the basement to make sure as much cool air as possible goes upstairs.  Another option is to add a small electric heater in the space.  This is recommended in cooler months so as not to detract from cooling the rest of the house in warmer months.

Before You Call

Sometimes there is a simple solution to fixing a heating or cooling system. If your air conditioner or heat isn’t working, use the checklist below to troubleshoot common problems. If your system still isn’t working, or if you’re unsure or uncomfortable troubleshooting, give us a call!

Atlas Butler is the home of the Same-Day Comfort Pledge. Call us anytime, day or night, weekends or holidays, and a technician will be out to get you up and running the same day without any after-hours or overtime service fees.

My air conditioner isn’t working.

  • Check the thermostat. Make sure it is set to “cooling” or “auto” and set to the desired temperature.
  • Check the air filter. A dirty air filter can reduce the airflow coming out of the register. Replace with a new, clean filter.
  • Are all registers open and unobstructed?
  • Check the power switch near each unit. For an indoor unit, the switch should be near the unit. It should be clearly marked, but it may look like a regular light switch. If it’s off, turn it on.
  • Check the fuse in the circuit breaker.

My heat isn’t working.

  • Check the thermostat. Make sure it is set to “heating” or “auto” and set to the desired temperature.
  • Check the air filter. A dirty air filter can reduce the airflow coming out of the register. Replace with a new, clean filter.
  • Are all registers open and unobstructed?
  • Check the power switch near each unit. For an indoor unit, the switch should be near the unit. It should be clearly marked, but it may look like a regular light switch. If it’s off, turn it on.
  • Check the fuse in the circuit breaker.
  • If you have a gas furnace, check that the gas service has not been terminated. Gas companies will turn off service if a leak is detected, sometimes without notice.
  • If you have a gas furnace, make sure the gas control valve to the furnace is open.
  • If you have an older gas furnace with a pilot light, make sure it is lit.
  • If you have a newer gas furnace with electric ignition, check the display. The panel should have an explanation of the codes on the display.

The Life Of An HVAC: How Long Do Heating & Cooling Systems Last?

Heating and cooling systems don’t last forever. It’s a bummer, we know! It would be nice if we never had to worry about replacing them, but there comes a day and a time when every system—no matter how well maintained—has to be put out to pasture.

But when is that day and time? Take a look at this handy chart to find the average lifespan of each type of system:

  • Furnace: 15 – 20 years
  • Heat pump: 16 years
  • Air conditioning unit: 10 – 15 years
  • Tankless water heater: 20 years
  • Electric or gas water heater: 10 years
  • Thermostat: 35 years (but usually replaced sooner due to technological improvements)

Learn more:
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/news/0810/gallery.how_long_things_last.toh/4.html