As a Phoenix homeowner, you don’t have to deal with the frigid temperatures, ice and snow that plague more northerly areas during the winter. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to prepare for the cooler months. From your HVAC system to your fireplace to your swimming pool, there are steps that you can take to make the transition to winter as smooth and easy as can be. Read on to learn a few ways to prep your Phoenix home for the winter.
Winter in Phoenix
People who live elsewhere in the country often assume that Phoenix doesn’t really experience winter at all. While it certainly doesn’t snow or get frigidly cold here, temperatures do drop significantly. Most residents welcome the cooler temperatures that a Phoenix winter brings. We enjoy around 300 days of sunshine here, so our winters don’t tend to be dreary at all. Once those desert temps drop below 50 degrees, as they often do, local residents start pulling on the sweaters, gloves and hats. Just as people need to prepare themselves for cooler weather, they should prepare their homes and properties too.
Tips for Preparing Your HVAC System for Winter
During the summer, Phoenix residents’ air conditioning systems get major workouts. On chilly winter mornings, you’ll want your heat to work properly too. Make sure that it does with these tips:
- Check the Thermostat – Over time, thermostats slowly lose their accuracy. Test your thermostat to ensure that it is in good working order. If you are still using an analog thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable digital model.
- Change the Filter – Since the HVAC system is used more consistently during the warm months, its filter accumulates dust and other debris more quickly. If the filter becomes too clogged, that debris can work its way into your HVAC system, negatively impacting its ability to heat and cool your home. It will have to work harder, so your utility bills will go up. Stock up on filters, set a reminder, and change them out consistently for optimal performance.
- Check the Vents – Odds are that they are fine, but it never hurts to check the vents and registers in your home. Make sure that they are clear and unobstructed. Use an attachment on your vacuum cleaner to vacuum them out as thoroughly as possible. If a vent doesn’t seem to be blowing air well, contact Isley’s for assistance.
- Schedule Maintenance – HVAC systems last longer and function more efficiently when they are serviced on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to have your HVAC serviced twice a year: once before summer and once before winter. During a maintenance visit, the technician can check for minor issues and correct them before they spiral out of control. They will also clean and inspect your system to keep it in good working order.
Tips for Preparing Your Pool for Winter
If you’re lucky enough to own a swimming pool, you probably get plenty of use out of it during the summer. If it’s heated, you will probably keep it open all winter too. Either way, now is the perfect time to brush up on some winter pool maintenance tips:
- Cut Back on the Chlorine – If you’re keeping it open, you should be able to reduce the amount of chlorine that you use. For one thing, sunlight is less direct during the winter, so less chlorine is burned away. For another, pools get used less during the cooler months, so less chlorine is needed in general.
- Watch the pH – You should always monitor the pH level of your pool’s water. During the winter, pH tends to rise more quickly, so plan on checking it more often to avoid scaling, stains and algae buildup.
- Close it Properly – If your pool isn’t heated, or if you just don’t tend to use it during the winter, close it down. Adjust the pH to 7.2 to 7.8, and then run the filter for 24 to 48 hours. Vacuum the pool and remove any floating debris. After adding algaecide, lower the water level per the pool manufacturer’s instructions, and then cover it up for the winter.
Tips for Preparing Your Fireplace for Winter
- Have it Cleaned – Over time, creosote, a natural, tar-like byproduct of burning wood, accumulates inside a chimney. It is highly combustible and therefore very dangerous. Hire a chimney sweeping company to clean your chimney before winter gets into full swing.
- Look it Over – Inspect the outside of the chimney. Look for signs of cracking, crumbling and other types of disrepair. Pay close attention to the flashing around the base as well, as water can leak in if it is damaged. If damage is found, hire someone to fix it.
- Clear Debris – While inspecting the chimney, look out for debris that may have worked its way inside. Be on the lookout for birds’ nests and other signs of critters too, as they are known to make themselves at home in people’s chimneys.
- Check Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers – Not surprisingly, the risk of a house fire increases when you use a fireplace. Now is the ideal time to check smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home to ensure that they are in good working order.
Finally, examine doors and windows around your home for signs of air leakage. If necessary, apply new weather-stripping or take other steps to minimize air leakage. In so doing, your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable all winter long.
If you’re a Phoenix homeowner, now is the time to prepare for winter. Isley’s Home Service, Inc., is here to help with your HVAC maintenance needs. Click here to learn more, or give us a call to schedule service today.