As you search for new ways to combat the winter cold, you could benefit from enlisting the right kind of help. For many homeowners, calling HVAC contractors to keep your home warm as the temperatures drop outside might seem like a no-brainer. If it’s been a while since you’ve reached out to HVAC professionals in your area, though, this might be a new concept for you.
From first-time homeowners to seasoned ones who have owned homes for decades, it can be equally challenging to combat the winter cold. If you live in an area that has harsh winters, this can especially ring true. Some homeowners may not have to deal with the winter cold if they live in areas that are warm all year round. Still, having the skills that you need to get through frigid temperatures can be a good idea for anyone. Even if you don’t expect the temperatures to drop in your region, you never know when the weather might change or you might find yourself in a rental property or vacation home in an unexpectedly freezing area.
If You Know Your Furnace Needs Repairs, Get Them ASAP
For many homeowners, it’s easy to put off repairs you need to make to combat the winter cold if it’s not even winter yet. During the summer and even fall months, you may find that you struggle to motivate yourself to schedule maintenance tasks to prepare for the winter. When your budget is stretched to the max, making repairs on your home that don’t feel urgent or necessary at the moment might not seem like a priority.
While it could feel like you have all the time in the world to complete HVAC repairs, you shouldn’t take that for granted. Depending on where you live, winter might hit hard and fast before you know it. Even if you have a good idea of how long you have before the temperatures drop and frost settles in for the winter, you should take advantage of the time you have before you need to rely on your furnace. Your HVAC contracting company will appreciate it if you take the time to fix your furnace before it’s the dead of winter and everyone needs their furnace to be fixed on an emergency basis.
Another perk of fixing your furnace as soon as you notice a need for repairs is that it can prevent you from having to replace a furnace as quickly. While furnaces sometimes break out of the blue, a frequent cause of needing to replace a furnace is ignoring or denying the need for repairs throughout the lifetime of the furnace. Some issues with furnaces may get worse over time, so it’s wise to patch up a small problem before it snowballs into a larger one.
Work With Trusted Local HVAC Companies
Although you might not have any HVAC contractors in your address book or phone, it helps to have some contractors you can trust in your area before you need to call them. If you’re not sure where to start, you can speak with your local real estate agent who sold you your home or an insurance agent to see if there are any contractors they would recommend. When you notice that your neighbors also need HVAC repairs, you might be able to ask them for a recommendation for who is good in your area and who they would avoid like the plague.
Sometimes, you have to hire more than one contractor from different companies if you want to effectively combat the winter cold. One company may specialize in inspecting HVAC systems while another might be better at handling repairs. If you need to work with more than one contractor, you can ask your current HVAC company to give you a referral and see if you can get a discount for a word-of-mouth referral from a trusted source.
Focus Solely on Your Heating System if Money Is Tight
If your budget is tight and your wallet is strapped for cash, you should focus on the repairs that are most necessary to combat the winter cold. This means that replacing or repairing your AC system can wait until the weather starts to warm up. It can also mean that you might have to wait to repair other aspects of an HVAC system like the fan settings or air purifying ones.
If you don’t have the funds to keep your home warm, you should contact your heating company to see if they have payment plans or other options to make it more affordable to keep your house comfortable during the winter. Since heating is a necessity, you won’t want to let this go and divert your funds to unnecessary purchases until you get yourself financially stabilized. For those who tend to spend a lot of money on heating in the winter, it can be helpful to set up a savings account that’s dedicated to preparing for heating expenses for winter. This way, you won’t have to scramble to figure out how you’ll make payments to the oil company and HVAC contractors when winter hits.
Some states and counties may also have programs that give out funds to residents of an area for repairing their heating units. These programs may also make it easier for you to afford oil and other materials that help you heat your house. Since these programs may have limits on who qualifies or how many people they can help, you should reach out to them as soon as you suspect you may have a problem with affording heating your home.
At a Minimum, Get Your HVAC System Professionally Inspected
For those who struggle to keep up with maintaining an HVAC system and performing upgrades on their furnace, it can be helpful to start to maintain your HVAC system with baby steps. If nothing else, you’ll want to schedule an HVAC inspection at least once a year. After that, you can follow the recommendations of your HVAC contractors to maintain the system and improve it.
When your HVAC contractors come to your property to inspect the HVAC system, you’ll want to keep the area near the HVAC system clear of debris and clutter. This will make it easier for them to access the system. If they recommend any repairs or upgrades to help you combat the winter cold, you should listen to them. Although it’s easy to assume that you can wait to repair any aspect of your home, you don’t want to end up without heat for part of the winter. This can cause you to spend more money in the long run since you might need to stay in a hotel or short-term rental until the unit is fixed down the road.
Consider Installing a Heat Pump
If you notice that your home tends to accumulate humidity during the winter months or other times of the year, it could be beneficial to contact professionals who specialize in HVAC installations to install a heat pump. While there are pros and cons to installing a heat pump, it can be worthwhile if you have problems that this type of home improvement can address. For those who care about energy efficiency, this kind of system can help you maximize energy efficiency in heating and cooling your home.
Consider Upgrading Your Furnace
If you have some extra money to help you combat the winter cold, you might want to trade out your old furnace for a new one. While this can cost a lot of money and take time to install, it may be a good idea if your furnace doesn’t reliably heat your home anymore. As you try to combat the winter cold, you may find it easier to heat your house with a fresh furnace. Even if you don’t want to replace the whole furnace, there may be ways to upgrade key parts of your furnace so it runs more effectively and efficiently.
When you’re looking for new furnaces at home improvement stores, you should balance features with your budget. Before you go into a home improvement store, you should have a budget in mind. For something as expensive as a furnace, it’s also a smart idea to consider how you want to finance this purchase. Some folks may be comfortable taking out a line of credit to pay for the new furnace over time while others may feel better about saving up for this kind of purchase gradually and then funding it with cash.
In an emergency where your furnace breaks, you might not have the luxury of choosing whether you’d like to replace your furnace. In that case, you’ll have to do what you need to do. Although it’s not pleasant to replace an appliance on a financial level, it is a necessary part of owning a home. Going without heat for any portion of the winter can pose a threat to your health and well-being. It can also put other aspects of your home like your pipes at risk of bursting or malfunctioning if you can’t heat your home properly, so it’s important to prioritize heating even if you don’t personally mind the feeling of the cold.
Don’t Neglect Insulation
To get the most out of your measures to combat the winter cold, you should keep the heat in and the cold out of your house as much as possible. Although you can’t control the temperature outside, you can protect your home from it by properly insulating your windows and other areas of your house. If you notice that a specific room in your house cools as soon as the heater runs, it may not be a problem with your HVAC system or furnace. The culprit of this inconsistent heating may be your insulation (or lack of it!)
Before you attempt to fix the insulation yourself, you should call in the professionals and contact home insulation services. They’ll be able to tell you whether your issue sounds like an insulation problem or one related to your heating system. Additionally, they may be able to give you a quote for insulating your home after inspecting the property and reviewing the condition of the current insulation materials. To get the most out of a furnace upgrade or other update to your heating system, it might be smart to improve your insulation before you add a new heating system into the mix. Of course, as a homeowner, the choice of what you do to your home is up to you. We can only provide suggestions based on our experiences.
Get Your Old Windows Replaced
When your windows are cracked or otherwise broken, it can make it harder to combat the winter cold. Some windows may not be thick enough to keep out the cold. Others may have small imperfections that allow warm air to escape and cold air to enter the home.
While you may want to replace your windows yourself, we recommend calling a home window installation company instead. They’ll be able to replace the windows safely. They may also offer repairs for windows, which can be cheaper than replacements.
Small Changes to Block Drafts Can Help a Lot
Outside of window treatments, you can use materials to block the draft. For doorways, you may want to get a draft snake or other item that keeps the draft out. You should also ensure that windows and doors are closed when it’s cold outside. If you accidentally leave a window open a crack, it can make a big difference in how effective your heating system may be in the winter.
Keep Warm No Matter What
Sometimes, you might not have the means or motivation to fix your heating system. In other cases, you might have a functional heating system but still find yourself too cold. In this case, making sure that you pile on the summer and winter duvets and wear warm clothes in your home can be exactly what you need to stay cozy.
When you want to combat the winter cold, you don’t have to do it alone. The HVAC contractors in your area are here to help keep you comfortable all year. You can also take steps to stay warm during winter on your own.