Florida isn’t exactly known for its cold, harsh winters—we’re blessed enough to have reasonable temperatures for a large portion of the year. However, that doesn’t mean winter won’t get a little chippy from time to time down south. Unseasonably cool temperatures, increased amounts of precipitation, and forceful ocean breezes can take a toll on your home, causing property damage and leaving your home cold and uncomfortable.
So what’s a homeowner to do? In this blog, the Sarasota HVAC team at Baker & Sons AC will give you a checklist to prepare your home for winter. Keep some key strategies in mind and make some quick fixes to your home and you can maximize your energy savings and be comfortable all winter long!
A well-sealed home is important all year long—but when winter comes around, it’s absolutely crucial. If your home is letting cold air in, it’s also letting your warm HVAC air out—and that can pose issues for your energy efficiency and home comfort. Once warm air escapes from your home through cracks and seams near your windows, doors, and vents, you HVAC unit has to work harder to maintain your home’s comfortable internal temperature, which shortens the life of your HVAC system and spikes your monthly energy bill.
To keep that energy bill low and keep your home comfortable, you’re going to need to put your DIY hat on and get to work. First, take a look around your doors and windows and check for drafts with a bare hand or a lit candle. If cold air is blowing through seams, or you can see daylight peeking in around the edges of your door, your home is lacking tight weather sealing that will prevent cold air from making its way into your home. Next, adjust the hinges on your doors so they fit more squarely in the door frame—gravity can do a number on your doors, making them sag and leaving openings that let in outside air along with outside pests like spiders and roaches. Finally, apply weatherstripping to the sides, tops, and bottoms of your doors, as well as the bottoms of your windows. This will create an airtight seal that prevents drafts and keep your HVAC system in good shape throughout the winter season.
Have your roof inspected.
Florida’s fall weather has been rough to say the least—tropical storms, insane winds, and hurricanes have affected people in our great state and beyond. All that extreme weather can do a number on your roof as well—which is why it’s important to have your roof inspected before winter arrives.
Unfortunately, most people who have roof damage or structural issues only realize it when rainwater is pouring from the ceiling into their living room. There’s only so much time you can spend using your pots and pans to collect water—after awhile, you’ll end up with hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in water damage to your home.
Before winter sets in, call a professional roofer to check on your shingles, flashing, boots, and gutters. It might seem expensive to have someone to take a look at your roof when it may have issues, but it’s much cheaper than having a mini-flood in your home.
Fix up your attic space.
If you’re like most folks, your attic is full of cardboard boxes, dust, and a mouse or two. But this space serves a greater importance when it comes to your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. If your attic has poor insulation or poor ventilation, you’re going to lose out on energy savings and potentially compromise the health of you and your family members.
In terms of a poorly insulated attic, your home could lose up to 30 percent of its warm HVAC air through the attic of your home if your attic has old, damaged, or disintegrating insulation. Warm air rises, and insulation could stop that warm air from rising out of your home—so use spray foam insulation to fill openings and oblong corners, and replace your old insulation with something newer and more robust. Most people would opt for standard-grade insulation, but some of that heavy-duty R-49 insulation wouldn’t hurt, either.
In terms of ventilation, your attic is at a high risk for mold and mildew, even when things are cooler in the winter. All the moisture and heat that can build up in your attic can lead to mold growth on a large scale, which will often make it into your HVAC system and cause allergies, breathing problems, and other ailments amongst you and your family members. Your indoor air quality should be of utmost importance in your home, as it directly affects your health and wellness—so if you feel like you you might be experiencing allergies when you’re in your home, it’s time to get your attic and your air ducts cleaned by a professional.
However, the best course of action is to prevent the buildup of moisture and excess warm air in your attic—and that can be accomplished with attic ventilation fans. These fans pull moist air out of your attic and keep air moving in this stagnant space, keeping humidity in check and making sure mold doesn’t have the environment it needs to survive.
Have your HVAC system serviced.
Even if your home is well-sealed, your attic is in great shape, and your roof is prepared for incoming winter rainstorms, your house might still not be ready for winter. A long, swampy summer in Florida can run down your HVAC system and clog your air ducts with allergens and pollutants—and since you’re spending more time in your home during the winter, your “sick” HVAC system will affect your health and make your energy bill more expensive than it should be.
While you prepare your home for winter, you need the HVAC professionals to prepare your HVAC system—and that’s where Baker & Sons AC can help. Our experienced HVAC technicians can clean and repair your air ducts, provide HVAC system maintenance, and ensure that your entire system is keeping you comfortable and allowing you to breathe clean air all year long. Don’t wait—schedule an appointment with us today!