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Monica Dunlap

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Important Tips to Keep Your Home Warm!

Good morning everyone! It is cold out there today, probably some of the coldest temperatures we've seen all year. So, before I get into what I'm going to talk about today, because it has to do with the cold and your furnace, I want to quickly talk about interest rates.

 I did talk about interest rates a few weeks ago. Just so you know, interest rates did go down last week, so we're sitting at a 4.5 to 5% for FHA Conventional, depending on your credit score. That's a really good thing! We're predicting they're going to stabilize, so it's still a great time to get out there and buy with those interest rates still under 5%.

 Okay, that being said, let's get back to ... It's chilly out, it's very cold, I've got my sweater on, so what I want to talk about today is things you can do to make sure that your furnace is working efficiently and not overworking itself. Because when it overworks itself, or you’re not taking some simple steps, you're risking for it to stop working. And you do not want your furnace to stop working in this weather. I know there's a lot of HVAC specialists out there that are working very hard, because I'm sure there's quite a few people out there whose furnace has stop working in this cold weather.

 There are some things you can do to prepare your furnace for this extreme weather, and the first thing you want to do is to make sure your furnace filter is clean for best airflow. I see that all the time when I go on home inspections and when I do walkthroughs and going through houses, dirty, dirty air filters. My friend and client, Chris -he works for Maeser- he's up on a roof right now, probably very, very cold. The one thing he wanted to make sure you know is that a lot of people think a filter is a filter. And most filters you get at the hardware store only filter down to one micron, which is the size of 10 human hairs. And 98% of particles in the air are smaller than one micron.

 So, a clean furnace is a happy furnace, and you really want to make sure you get the right filter. Not all filters are created equally, and you don't just want to throw a filter in there thinking it's going to filter everything out if it's not really filtering out 98% of what's in the air. Your furnace is not going to be clean the way it should. A lot of times Maeser will carry an electrostatic filter that filters down to 0.03 microns, and is free flowing, so it's not restrictive. And they also carry UV light that kills viruses, bacteria, mold spores, all those things that you don't want in the air in your home.

 Anyway, that's just the first thing, you want to make sure that you have a great furnace filter that's clean because they're not all created equally. Next you want to set your thermostat a few degrees higher. This is before, so I know we're already kind of in the cold weather, but next time that happens, set your thermostat a few degrees higher so then the temperature in your house rises. And then when you do get the cold weather, you don't have to worry about it being freezing cold in your house and just a small temperature drop,

 This is the weather where your furnace and heating system is working overtime. It's constantly running off how cold it is outside, to keep the temperature of your house at the temperature that you set your thermostat at. And your furnace is designed to keep your home comfortably warm for average weather conditions, so this extreme weather is causing your furnace to work its hardest. So, it may not keep your inside temperature at the set point. If you set your thermostat at 70, your house may be at 68 or 67, because it's just so cold outside, your furnace is working very, very hard. Just remember to put on a couple of extra layers and a couple of extra blankets at night, to really make sure you keep yourself warm.

 Another great tip is to make sure you shut the registers in any unused rooms, only if they do not have any plumbing. (Because you don't want any pipes freezing) If you have a bedroom that doesn't have any plumbing in there, doesn't have a bathroom, you can close the register and shut the door to that bedroom, and if you don't use that bedroom then the furnace doesn't have to work hard to heat a room that you don't use. So, that's something just to be smart. And in any room around your house without plumbing, just shut the registers, close the door.

 Also, close the damper of your fireplace (only if not in use). If you're not using your fireplace, make sure you close the damper so there's no cold air coming in. And use towels at the base of your outside doors to lessen the entry of cold. Any outside door, keep towels outside and inside, just to make sure no cold air is getting into your home. And keep your garage door closed. That's something I really need to work on.

 So, those are a few things to really make sure that you keep your furnace running at its best during this cold weather, because it would be terrible if your furnace stopped working. Do whatever you can to keep your houses as comfortable as it can be, and comfortable for you during this cold weather. 

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