The temperature has dropped, the first bills for heat have arrived and it is time to winterize your home.
"We always recommend an annual service on your fireplace, especially wood and pellet," said Ace Hardware Hearth Shop manager, Bill Mennen. "Those are critical. The flumes have to be swept every year for safety."
Hearth Shop employees use the specifications set by the manufacturer to service fireplaces.
When a fireplace is not cleaned often enough the structural wood in the walls behind the fireplace dries out so much that it "lowers the flashpoint to almost spontaneous combustion," Mennen said.
Wooden self-cleaning logs should "only be used after you are certain of the condition of your chimney," he said.
Improperly disposed of fireplace ashes may cause fires. Embers should only be placed in a metal container and the person doing so should wear heavy leather gloves to protect his or her hands.
Gas fireplaces have no flue to sweep. However, during the off-season, spiders will build webs in the burners. Bugs and moths get caught, so the burners should be cleaned out, Mennen said.
Furnace filters should be changed monthly.
When filters get clogged with hair and dust they cause the furnace to work less efficiently.
Cut-to-fit plastic window film provides an extra layer of insulation on the inside of windows.
"If you have an area on the floor where heating vents are obstructed, plastic vent deflectors (adhered with magnets) help move the airflow away from the wall and in the direction you need it," said Corrie Dho, assistant manager at Ace Hardware.
If you have a room you are not using, covering the air vents in that room with magnet covers placed on the vents will force air into the rooms in use. Foam insulation may also be used.