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Our series for new homeowners offers seasonal projects you should cross off your list to keep your new home in good working order. Up this month? Three projects to get your home ready for colder months ahead.
- Maintain Your Chimney. If you have a wood burning fireplace, hire a professional chimney sweep to come in and do a thorough cleaning. They use special tools to clear away creosote, ash, and soot that can cause fires or carbon monoxide poisoning. They’ll also check for any nests that animals might have built in your chimney. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be inspected annually, so make it a habit to schedule a professional cleaning every November. And while you’re at it, power an order for firewood so you have fuel to keep your fireplace burning bright all winter long.
- Drain Your Hot Water Tank. Did you know that your hot water heater should be drained annually? Sediment can collect at the bottom of the tank, causing the water heater to leak or even fail. Extend the life of your hot water heater by draining and flushing the unit, a simple DIY task that should take you about an hour:
- Turn off the gas or electricity that powers the unit and shut off the water supply
- Turn on the hot water spigot at a faucet near the hot water heater, and leave it running while you complete the following steps.
- Attach a hose to the drain valve and run the hose to a nearby drain. (If you don’t have a drain nearby, a bucket will do the trick – just be prepared to empty it frequently, as it will fill up quickly.) Allow the water to flow until the tank is empty.
- Flush out any sediment still left in the tank by turning the cold water valve on and off a few times. Once the water runs clear, remove the hose and tighten the drain valve. Then fill the tank completely and turn the power back on.
- Once the hot water heater is up and running, touch the outside of the tank. If it feels warm to the touch, that means there is heat loss – stop this wasteful energy drain by wrapping your hot water tank in a Frost King Water Heater Tank Insulation Jacket. Watch our video for simple installation instructions.
- Check for Drafty Windows. If you bought a home with older windows, check for leaks that can run up your heating bill this winter. If you notice lots of cold air seeping in, seal the leaks with weatherstripping and cover leaky windows with Frost King Indoor Shrink Window Insulation Kits. You can find step-by-step installation instructions here. Your wallet will thank you, because energy savings from reducing drafts range from 5% to 30% per year, according to the S. Department of Energy.