Winter is approaching quickly, which means now’s the time to start preparing your heater for the long months ahead in which you’ll be depending on it to keep you warm, comfortable, and healthy. The last thing any homeowner wants to have to deal with when the weather is frigid and icy outside is a broken furnace, and some careful preparation can go a long way toward preventing that from happening.

Here are a few steps you can follow to make sure your furnace is ready to go and will effectively heat and cool your home better than ever this winter.

Replace Weather Stripping

Weather stripping is a thin strip of foam or rubber you’ll find around your doors or windows. These small, flexible, and remarkably simple materials are designed to completely seal off all air gaps between your doors and windows and the frames they’re mounted in. Without weather stripping, there will always be some form of a small air gap between the door or window and its frame, and that small air gap is what will allow much-needed heat to leak out and be replaced with cold, frigid air. Thanks to weather stripping, you don’t have to worry about this happening—the flexible material prevents air from passing through this small gap and ensures that your doors and windows are sealed shut tight when you close them.

Because weather stripping is usually constructed of some form of thin rubber or foam, it usually only lasts about two to three years before exposure to the elements causes it to grow old, crack, and wear out. Replacing it is fairly simple, however. Most home improvement warehouses or hardware stores will carry replacement stripping for just a few dollars, and replacing it on all your doors and windows shouldn’t take more than just a few hours.

Check Attic Insulation

The number one cause of heat loss in the average home is warm air sneaking through gaps in the ceiling and leaking into the attic. And these gaps may exist in places you never thought: recessed lighting, cable pass-throughs, and even ceiling fan connections. Before winter starts, head up to your attic and check on the condition of the insulation that separates your attic from your rooftop. If the insulation has become damaged by a water leak or has simply become solid, crusty, and no longer capable of properly keeping heat in the area of your home below, replace it.

You may also want to consider replacing your insulation with a new, high-efficiency spray foam. This is a pretty big job that takes a lot of time and effort, but the results could save you a bundle on your heating bills. Home improvement stores do sell self-application kits, but the best way to ensure it’s done right is to hire a spray foam installation professional.

Get a Professional Maintenance Service

Finally, even if you’ve eliminated all of the air leaks in your home, your furnace isn’t going to work all that great unless it receives proper attention from a professional. Contact a Raleigh heating service expert and schedule a tune-up and maintenance service. A tune-up for a furnace includes a host of different tests and checks on your furnace to spot potentially serious problems, cleaning of important components like your coils and heat pump, lubricating of moving parts, and tightening and testing of electrical connections.

Your furnace or heat pump is kind of like a car: the better the care it receives, the longer it will last and the better it will serve you. A furnace maintenance service will not only ensure that your system is ready to handle the long months of stressful use you’re about to place on it, but will do so efficiently. That means not only will your home stay comfortable for longer, but it’ll use less energy in doing so!

Have your furnace maintained today! Call R & S Mechanical, Inc. at (919) 302-8956 to schedule your appointment now.