As cooler weather begins to settle into South Carolina, BBB is offering a checklist for homeowners to safely prepare for winter and, perhaps, save a few dollars in the process.
Homeowners can fend off some of the rising energy costs by winterizing their home and vehicle before the harshest weather takes hold. Winterizing makes good economic sense, as a small up-front investment and can pay dividends for months by increasing the energy efficiency of a house by reducing overall heating costs as well as keeping your car safe and reliable during the coldest of months.
Following is a BBB winterizing checklist for consumers to consult when preparing for the cold months ahead:
- Heaters older than 15 years might be due for serious maintenance or replacement. For younger furnaces, BBB recommends making sure the furnace filter is clean, the thermostat is working properly and the pilot light is functioning. Heating ducts should be cleaned once every two years. Homeowners should also consider adding insulation to any exposed duct-work.
- Before lighting the first fire of the season, your chimney should be checked for animals, nests, leaves and other debris as well as for any necessary repairs.
- Gutters should be cleaned to prevent any clogs that would cause rainwater to back up. The ridge vents need to be cleaned as well in order to allow the house to “breathe” correctly. Otherwise, air can stagnate and create an unhealthy living environment.
- BBB recommends testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and installing fresh batteries. Homeowners should consider replacing smoke alarms older than 10 years.
- To prevent leaks, homeowners should inspect the caulking around windows and doors and check for cracking and peeling. In addition, BBB recommends ensuring that doors and windows shut tightly so no cold air can enter due to worn down weather stripping. Due to hot summers, this is important any time of year for South Carolina homes.
- Homeowners won’t need their spring and summer equipment for a few months, so BBB recommends draining the gasoline from the lawnmower and other garden tools. This is a great time of year to get your lawnmower maintenance done.
- Last but certainly not least, don’t forget your vehicle. Have a mechanic check fluid levels, including the coolant, to be sure reservoirs are full and able to withstand cooler temperatures. Also check windshield wipers, defrosters and heaters as well as tire tread and inflation.
Please contact Better Business Bureau at (803) 254-2525 / (843) 766-9616 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.