Be sure your winter tools (car scrapers, snow shovels etc) are in good repair and ready to go. If you have a snow blower do the maintenance now. If you have old gas from last year get rid of it at your hazardous waste facility and get fresh gas. Stock up on oil and replace any worn or damaged parts. All that will be far more annoying when you can’t get out of the driveway to purchase supplies until you’ve shoveled.
Go through your home and check all your smoke detectors and C0 detectors. Replace any batteries and replace any detectors that are 10 years old regardless of battery condition.
I’m not a fan of drum humidifiers in HVAC systems. It’s a rare homeowner that keeps them clean and they become a breeding ground for nasty things. I always recommend taking them out of the system and using individual ultra-sonic humidifiers instead. They breed far less bacteria and are easy to clean. Just use white vinegar on them periodically. It’s a good idea to clean the tank, the water valve, the reservoir and the nebulizer regularly throughout the season. Try to do this once a week – it will prolong the life of the humidifier.
In the last blog I recommended getting your wood stove “tuned up”. If you have one be sure to keep a caste iron kettle of some kind on it and filled with water. I like to add spices or essential oils to the water for a pleasant scent. You can just throw in a stick or two of cinnamon or a handful of cardamom pods or star anise each time you refill. A drop or two of essential oil also works very nicely. If you don’t want to use your expensive oils you can use food grade oils that you can find on line for this purpose and save the good stuff for your skin or ingesting. I like to use rosemary and cedar oils.
Another idea for the woodstove is to get an Ecofan, which is a temperature operated device that will circulate the hot air from the stove into the room and is surprisingly effective in distributing the warmth through a large room. In my home I aim mine at the hallway and have another small electric fan that moves the warm air down to the bedrooms. I was amazed at how much more warmth throughout the house I got from this set up.
One last indoor project; check your windows and doors for drafts now that the cold air makes it easier to detect. Fill any gaps and replace any worn weather stripping.
Enjoy the Holidays!
As always I welcome any questions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.