How to prepare your home for the winter months

With winter just around the corner, now is the time to give your home a winterizing “check-up.” Here is the checklist of five important steps you’ll need to make to ensure your home is ready for those cold north winds.

1. Have your heating system cleaned and tuned by a qualified contractor. A pre-season tune-up and filter change is a good investment. It reduces the chances of breakdowns in the middle of winter, improves safety, and pays for itself through more energy efficient operation.

2. Have your system checked for carbon monoxide. A good contractor will also offer to test your system for hazardous carbon monoxide, which can be produced by a dirty or malfunctioning gas or oil furnace or water heater. Install a low level carbon monoxide alarm. Every home should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm.

3. Have your duct system tested for air leaks. Many think that windows and doors are the major cause of a home’s air leaks. But according to recent research by the U.S. Department of Energy, gaps and cracks in the typical home’s duct system are much more significant. The typical duct system loses 25 percent to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central furnace, heat or air conditioner. Leaks are usually the biggest problem.

4. Ask your heating contractor to perform an Infiltrometer “blower door” test. The blower door is a computerized instrument that pinpoints where your home’s worst air leaks are, and also measures how leaky the overall house is. While some homes are still far too leaky, most homes are now becoming too airtight and need mechanical ventilation to ensure the air inside is fresh. According to Jean Deslandes, Marketing Director for Venmar Ventilation, the country’s leader in indoor air quality management, proper ventilation is crucial for optimal indoor air quality. “Ventilation dilutes the air of pollutants in your home and revitalizes stale air,” explains Deslandes. “For your home to ‘breathe’ effectively it needs a constant source of fresh, filtered outdoor air to flow through, resulting in improved indoor air quality.”

Deslandes says the best results are achieved through mechanical ventilation combined with HEPA filtration, such as Venmar’s HEPA 3000 air exchanger. The combination of ventilation and filtration works to reduce humidity, volatile compounds (gases, moulds), and maintains healthy indoor air quality.

5. Consider replacing your old furnace or heat pump. Just like a car, heating equipment doesn’t last forever. If your system is more than 12 year- old, and you are planning to stay in your home more than a few years, many authorities recommend considering replacing it before it fails permanently. A new system is safer, more dependable, and can pay for itself through energy savings, as it is up to twice as energy efficient. For more details on how to eliminate dangerous indoor air pollutants visit http://www.jcjmechanicalinc.com

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