Living in a southern climate doesn’t mean you’re completely free from the cold. For every homeowner, winter home prep is important to help keep energy costs down and your comfort levels up. Not to mention, consistent seasonal home care also helps to maintain the value and quality of your home long-term. Follow our tips on how to winterize your home this fall.
When to Winterize Your Home in Southern Climate
Begin your home winterization prep in early fall to make cleaning and scheduling much easier. Because the most important step is winterizing your HVAC system, you’ll want to make sure you have enough time to schedule maintenance or repair services before the temperatures outside drop.
Exterior winter prep in a southern climate can wait until later in the fall season since warmer temperatures will likely stick around longer. Tasks such as shutting down your central AC and water faucets should be done once you no longer need to use them, but early enough that it’s not difficult to shut them down in frigid temperatures.
How to Winterize Your Central Air Conditioning
Preparing your central air conditioning for the winter season will help to reduce energy consumption and protect your unit from the cold. Follow these AC winterization steps:
- Shut off the unit. At the main circuit breaker, switch your unit to ‘off’ for the season before you begin the next steps.
- Clean the exterior. Gently clean the dirt and grime off the exterior using a damp cloth or hose.
- Remove surrounding debris. Anything blocking or covering your unit can lead to mildew or mold growth. Make sure to clear the area so your unit remains protected.
- Cover the unit (if necessary). While you don’t need to cover your unit, you have the option of using a top cover or fence to shield your unit from rusting or collecting debris. If you choose to cover your unit though, make sure to regularly check for mildew or mold growth throughout the season.
How to Winterize Your HVAC System
The most important part of winter home prep is a healthy and efficient heating system to help keep you warm in the cold. Get your heating system ready for the season with these helpful steps:
- Schedule maintenance service.During a maintenance tune-up, HVAC professionals will clean, test, and inspect your unit for potential repair or replacement needs. This will keep your heating system running efficiently throughout the season and prevent untimely breakdowns if you’re able to identify issues early on.
- Replace any air filters.A dirty air filter can prevent efficient airflow from your HVAC system and also affect the air quality in your home. Because you’ll be spending more time indoors during the winter season, it’s important to maintain healthy airflow and quality.
- Test the thermostat. Check that all functions on your thermostat are working properly before turning on your heater. A faulty connection or incorrect settings can be damaging to your heater. If you’re looking to improve the overall energy efficiency in your home, or make managing your heating and cooling much easier, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat.
- Inspect your air ducts. Over time, dust, dirt, pests, and mold can build up in your ducts. If it’s been a few years since your last cleaning, or you notice signs of dirty air ducts, schedule air duct cleaning services with your local HVAC professionals.
If your heating system is aging and decreasing in efficiency, fall is the ideal time to consider replacing your unit or looking into new heating options. Our HVAC professionals at FAST of Florida can help you weigh your options or consider something more efficient like a heat pump.
How to Winterize Your Home
- Switch the ceiling fan to clockwise. Changing your ceiling fan direction to clockwise in the winter creates an updraft that pulls up cold air and redirects the trapped warm air back down into your home. This not only improves airflow but also keeps your home feeling more comfortable.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. While you should regularly test your detectors throughout the year for safe operation, home fires are more common in winter.
- Inspect and install weatherproofing. Preventing air leaks in your home can significantly reduce energy loss. Check your home for drafts and either seal identified gaps with caulk or weatherproofing.
- Flush your water heater. No one wants an expected cold shower during the winter months. Having your water heater flushed once in the fall and spring will help reduce any buildup and prevent damage. If you do notice signs of repair such as low water pressure, lack of hot water, or even leaks, schedule repair services.
- Cover or store outdoor furniture. Your outdoor furniture won’t be getting much use in winter. Clean off any dirt and debris, then cover or store them away in a well-ventilated space to prevent any rusting or mildew growth. That way they’ll be ready to go once the weather warms up again.
- Schedule professional gutter cleaning. Gutters can quickly fill up with dirt and debris—especially in the fall and spring. Be sure to have them professionally cleaned during these seasons to avoid pests, mold, and nests that can lead to dangerous leaks or flooding.
- Drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Water can freeze at temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below and even a small crack or ice blockage in your faucets can be damaging. To avoid this, it’s best to store your hoses away and drain your faucets before temperatures drop.
Schedule Winter Home Improvement Services in Clearwater, FL
Get your home prepped for the winter cold with seasonal cleanup, maintenance, and energy-efficient upgrades. At FAST of Florida,we provide services for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC in the Tampa Bay area. Get started by calling 727-273-7810[OUW6], or schedule service online.