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MARQUETTE CO. – With the ample amounts of snow seen across the U.P., temperatures are surely going to stay chilly.
As things get chilly outside, there are a few things you can do to keep warm on the inside.
“Windows and doors are kind of the obvious ones, but not getting their heating systems checked that’s a big one- not by a professional,” said Don Steckman, General Manager of Ferrellgas. “Not upgrading their heating systems can be a pretty expensive mistake. Older heating systems are not very efficient and you can really save a lot of money by upgrading your system to a more efficient heating system.”
Not only can upgrading your heating system save you money, it can also save your life. It’s also important to keep your system free of snow or else there’s the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“The other thing with carbon monoxide is older systems,” said Steckman. “An older furnace that’s too old, let’s say, the heat exchanger could eventually crack which is also going to cause a carbon monoxide issue in your house.”
One thing Steckman says is often overlooked is insulating your house with better windows. A well-insulated window can keep the cold out and the heat in.
“Those are the best investments you can do,” said Steckman. “If you don’t want to turn your thermostat down, the best thing you can do is take the money from your tax refund and put it into your house. Long-term, you can’t do anything better.”
The members of the Home Builders Association of the Upper Peninsula also offer some more winter maintenance tips, as seen below:
· Change the batteries in your thermostat, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms
· Make sure the furnace exhaust and intake are NOT plugged with snow! Keep a path free to them. This can lead to carbon monoxide in your home, however, your more modern furnaces will shut down first as a safety precaution.
· Change furnace filters regularly – this can also cause your furnace to shut down
· Get a Preventative Maintenance check once a year to make sure all safety devices are working properly
· Do not plow or clear snow over sewer or water main to prevent freezing of mains
· For mobile homes be that skirting and belly insulation is intact. Plug in and verify that heat tape is operational. Be sure to shovel snow against skirting for added insulation to prevent freezing
· Make sure your water pump and main water line are well insulated or that you have heat tape if they are not in a heated area to prevent frozen pipes
· If you have had an issue in the past with frozen pipes, leave water trickling at the faucet furthest away from your pump
· If you have a well, call your city or township, they may be able to help thaw out your pipes as well.
ROOFS & GUTTERS
· Keep snow off your roof with a high quality roof rake. The weight of the snow can add excessive pressure on your roof and ice can build ice dams which can damage your shingles. This is important when it is extremely cold and the snow isn’t melting.
· Clean your gutters twice a year – before fall and after fall. If they are clogged, in the winter, the melting snow will have nowhere to run and will stay on the roof, creating ice dams (see above).
· Trim overhanging tree branches. The water and broken branches can cause considerable damage to a roof. If they are near power lines, call your local power company, do not try to remove them yourself! If removing any branches on your own, please use fall protection!
· Have a well insulated attic. This will prevent temperature fluctuations and more freezing on the roof.