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This column is the first of many from my friend Matt Steger at WIN Home Inspection, when one of my clients need an inspection, Matt is the man I call.  Matt’s Home Inspection Services are thorough, detailed and his reports are easy to read and understand.  Call Matt at 717-361-9467 for all of your home inspection needs.  Every Friday you can watch for Home Maintenance Advice from The Pulse of Lancaster right here, in the Inspector’s Corner!  Enjoy!

Autumn is here again. The leaves will soon be changing, baseball playoffs are under way, hockey season has started, and you are probably spending a little less time outside. This series of tips should help you maintain your home and get it ready for winter.

1. One of the most important things you should do this month is having your home’s heating system serviced. Whether your home is heated with a furnace, heat pump, or boiler, now is the time to make be sure it is ready for the cold months. You don’t want to wake up some January morning only to find that your heating system no longer functions. Regular preventive maintenance is key to ensuring safe and reliable service from your heating system as well as helping to prevent expensive unforeseen repairs down the road. If your home has upper and lower return louvers, now is the time to open the bottom return louvers and close the top return louvers. Just remember that warm air rises and during the cooler months, you want warm air to stay in the room. If you have a forced air system (furnace or heat pump), also make sure to replace or clean your air filter. A dirty air filter can put extra stress on your system and prevent proper filtering of your home’s air. Most air filters should be changed monthly (woven fiberglass type) or every 90 days (paper element type). Should your system use a large media type of filter (often 4”~7” thick and looking sort of like an accordion), this type of filter normally needs replacing every 12 months. Most heating contractors will change or clean the filter during their annual maintenance visit. Should your heating system vent into a chimney, make sure the metal exhaust pipe is fully sealed into the chimney. Furnace cement is used for this application. Should you have a heating system that is direct-vented (with PVC pipe, for example) make sure none of the exterior vents have vegetation blocking them.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you also want to change the settings to reflect the proper temperatures for heating season and adjusted times for standard time (when we change our clocks). If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you may want to think about installing one to help lower energy bills. If you have a heat pump system with built-in auxiliary heat (sometimes called Backup heat or EMHeat), you will normally need a special heat pump programmable thermostat that has the backup heat capability.

If you have electric baseboard heaters, they often accumulate dust over the spring and summer and turning them on now, tends to cause a burning smell. You can use a vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment or a rag to clean off the dust so all you get is heat when you run these over the winter.

Matt Steger

I’d like you to be part of the conversation here, so please, comment, forward The Pulse of Lancaster to your friends, subscribe and as always, if you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-490-8999!

Your Friend in Real Estate,
Jason Burkholder

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Jason Burkholder