As winter approaches, we can expect to hear about record-high snow falls and record-low temperatures. The shorter days and cooler nights take a toll on your home – and even your wellness.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) installers know that the frigid temperatures and piles of snow can put an enormous amount of strain on HVAC equipment and plumbing – in the form of increased heating hours and frozen pipes.
Scott Sherk, co-owner of Neighborhood Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, said when temperatures drop, their phone-call volume rises. “As a result of furnaces working double time – literally, doubling the amount of heating hours compared to average – there can be strain on the equipment and we receive an unprecedented number of service calls relating to furnaces not working and frozen pipes.”
To get through winter, consider a few of these high- and low-tech tips for improving your home’s comfort, and your own wellbeing.
Check Your Equipment
- Change your furnace filter. Experts recommend you should change these at least once a month in times of high-demand. To find the furnace filter that's right for your home, read this article.
- Schedule a furnace tune up. Sherk proactively reaches out to his customers for discounted furnace tune-ups to ensure equipment can meet the demand and the ignitors and flame sensors work properly.
- Check the humidification levels. Cold air has less moisture than warm air, which is why our skin tends to be drier and itchier in colder months. When your HVAC contractor tunes up your furnace, ask them to check the humidification systems as well. This will help ensure your home is comfortable, and help prevent wood floors from drying and cracking, as well as general discomfort from the dry air.
- Take care of the roof. A winter roof can tell a lot about a home’s ventilation. To avoid ice dams and water damage when the snow melts, rake it off, if possible. Speak with your contractor or HVAC installer to determine if you have proper amounts of ventilation and insulation for your home.
Stock up on Smart Home Solutions
- Add smart lighting to your home. Caseta by Lutron or Phillips Hue offer light that can be customized based on the time of day. It’s recommended that exposure to bright light in the morning can help keep your circadian rhythms in check and help address seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
- Be safe - Winter is a season for safety. States like Minnesota see an increase in carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in December through February. For peace of mind, ensure your home has several CO detectors placed throughout your home – or better yet, consider combination smoke/CO detectors.
- Get smart about your comfort. Smart thermostats have increased in popularity since they provide energy savings when homeowners are away, and comfort when they are home. Our latest smart thermostat delivers the right temperature to the right room at the right time.
Fuel the Body
- Ride on. Exercise makes people happy and we feel less anxiety after a good workout session. So if you want to keep your home gym cool, use a Honeywell Home T10 PRO smart thermostat and smart room sensor to deliver the ideal temperature for that room when you start a run or ride, and ensure that room doesn’t get overly humid.
- Walk outside. Studies suggest spending time in nature to clear your mind and soak in some Vitamin D from sunlight can improve mood. Fresh air is also important to improve your overall mental and physical health.
- Ensure your home is getting enough light. Open the blinds or even remove your screens to allow more sunlight into your home.
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