Preparing for winter

The fall season in Elgin, Illinois, is truly beautiful.

The leaves change color in a spectacular display.

There are lots of delicious fresh produce options, including squash, peppers, eggplant, zucchini and apples. The weather is usually mild with some rain. However, winter is just around the corner. As a homeowner, fall is a very busy time for me. I prepare the house for sub zero temperatures, ice and snow. I typically start by replacing the air filter in the furnace. I know that once I raise the thermostat setting, the heating system will run non stop for six to eight months. I want it to circulate the maximum amount of clean, heated and healthy air. A dirty or clogged filter forces the furnace to work harder and run longer, resulting in inferior comfort and higher energy bills. I also replace the air filter in the whole-home humidifier. Another quick, easy and worthwhile task is reversing the direction of ceiling fans. I switch the fans so they rotate counterclockwise. This works to redistribute the warm air that gathers up by the ceiling. I also check that the windows are all shut tight and latched. I make sure there are no gaps around the window casings or door frames that would allow warm air to escape. If necessary, I add caulk and weatherstripping. I look for gaps, cracks and signs of leaks from the basement, attic and ductwork. Every year, I inspect the condition of the insulation in the attic and basement. It can become compromised by moisture and/or rodents. Proper insulation is essential to a tightly sealed thermal envelope.

Elgin IL furnace