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Winter is Coming - Are You Ready?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 by Ben Kershner


It was hot this summer

So far, 2015 has been one of the hottest summers on record.  On Saturday, May 9th Rochester, NY topped out our thermometer at 92 degrees.  Do you remember that day?  I do.  It was a hazy humid Saturday, just before Mother’s Day, and I was doing an insulation estimate in Canandaigua.  By late afternoon the rain started, and by evening, the wind had picked up, cooling things down and turning into a pretty good thunderstorm.  If you had too little insulation in your home, I bet you were feeling it.  But hot summer days really aren’t our biggest concern around here.  Let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum.

February was viciously coldIt’s hard to remember the cold weather when it’s a hot summer day, but let’s try to remember Friday, February the 20th of 2015:  The sun rises with about a foot-and-a-half of snow on the ground.  Schools are cancelled because of the ridiculously cold wind-chill factor -- It’s hazardous to your health to stand outside waiting for a school bus.  The thermometer reads ten below zero Fahrenheit, but it will get colder before the day is out.  Very fine powdery lake effect snow is falling lightly, blowing in from the west, as it was for most of February.  Around noon, the sun comes out, and we warm up above freezing for a few hours, before plummeting back down to -11.  Tell me:  What was the coldest spot in your house on THAT day?

Believe it or not, winter is coming.  Luckily, there’s still time to prepare.   It can be dangerous to get up on a roof in a snow-storm, so it’s usually better to fix these things now.  Ice damming, cold rooms, leaky ducts… don’t wait until it’s too cold for spray-foam to adhere.

The inside of your furnace needs to be cleaned regularlyWhen was the last time you had the annual service performed on your furnace?  If it’s been more than a year or two, you’re past due.  The regular clean-and-tune isn’t just for durability and performance – it’s an important safety measure to keep carbon monoxide within safe levels in your home.  Closing up all the windows in the house can change the air-flows and pull those exhaust fumes into the house.

Your furnace's burner assembly is a precision instrument -- keep it clean and tunedWhen you bought your house, you probably expected that every room would be equally comfortable year-round.  You thought that the bills would be reasonable for the size of the house.  You didn’t plan for musty basement smells, cold floors, or a furnace that struggles to keep up.  Fixing these extends the life-expectancy of your home, improves indoor air quality, provides more comfort for you and your family and as an added benefit, it saves you money.

If you were going to do a project that will begin saving you money, month after month, when would you say is the best time to start?

About the author

Ben Kershner

Ben Kershner is a home energy advisor at True Energy Solutions, and is a regular contributor to our website. He lives with his wife and family in Greece, NY.

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