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10 Easy Ways to Prepare your Rochester, NY Home for Winter

Winter Home Prep in Rochester, NY: 10 Easy TipsIs your home ready for winter? And, we don’t mean holiday decorations.

Here in Rochester NY, the cold weather’s nothing to sneeze at. Temperatures get pretty low, and snow is a regular fixture. Before that all settles in, you want to make sure you’re prepared for the months ahead. There are plenty of ways you can increase your energy efficiency and feel even more comfortable once the winter rolls around.

And, at Airquip, we’re happy to help. We've been serving Western New York and the greater Rochester Area for over 20 years. Some of these tips are things you can do yourself. Others will involve calling a professional. Either way, if you have any heating or prep questions, HVAC-related or not, we’re happy to help!

A winter home prep checklist for homes in Rochester, NY

These 10 winter home prep steps will help you keep your house warm — and your energy bills low — in Rochester, NY.
  1. Replace Furnace Filter
  2. Get Your Furnace Tuned Up
  3. Get an Energy Audit
  4. Hang Thermal Curtains
  5. Use Door Sweeps
  6. Keep Your Vents Clear
  7. Insulate Your Water Heater
  8. Get Your Roof Checked
  9. Seal and Insulate Your Attic
  10. Install a Smart Thermostat

Replace Furnace Filter

’Here’s an easy first winter prep step: Make sure your furnace filter is fresh for the cold months ahead. The filter is the screen that traps all sorts of dirt and debris before it makes its way into your HVAC system. It keeps the system working smoothly. But, if you don’t change it out, it’ll do the opposite. Eventually, the filter gets so clogged that air can’t pass through. When that happens, heat isn’t circulating.

So, make sure you change it out before firing up your furnace. You can do this yourself in under ten minutes. Simply slide the old one out of its casing and slide in the new one.

Get Your Furnace Tuned Up

A furnace tune-up falls under the old “ounce of prevention - pound of cure” category. This is when an HVAC tech cleans and inspects your furnace before you begin using it for the season. They’ll clear out dust and dirt, replace worn-out or broken components, and lubricate all the moving parts. A tune-up keeps your energy bills down. A furnace that’s working well uses less energy. It also helps the system work better overall. And, it prevents costly breakdowns when you need the heat the most.

Maintenance For Your Heater

Get an Energy Audit

Most of the remaining tips on this list involve preventing heat from escaping your home. The best way to start doing that is by figuring out where it’s leaking. That’s what an energy audit does.

With an energy audit, you’ll get a detailed, professional inspection of your home. It’ll show you how air circulates through the house, where it escapes, and what you can do to use less energy to heat and cool your home. The idea is to identify these spots so you can address them. It’s better for the environment, and also your wallet. Plus, your home will feel much more comfortable.

Hang Thermal Curtains

Next, let’s stop heat from escaping in some of the usual spots. First and foremost? Your windows. How to do it? With thermal curtains.

It’s a fundamental law of thermodynamics: Heat moves toward cold air. In your house, that means it’ll seep out through any cracks it can find. Thermal curtains create a barrier between your home and potentially drafty windows. They come in a variety of styles so that you can match them to any room. And, here’s an extra tip: Leave the curtains open on sunny days. The sunlight will help keep your home warm. Then, close them at night when it gets chilly.

Talk To Somone About Your Furnace

Use Door Sweeps

Similar to thermal curtains are door sweeps. They pretty much do the same thing, just for different parts of the house. Put a door sweep on the floor under the door. It’ll prevent warm air from escaping through that narrow opening.

Keep Your Vents Clear

Here’s an easy one that won’t cost you anything: Make sure there’s no furniture in front of any of the vents in your home. Sure, settling on a good layout for a room may be a little challenging. But, the payoff is better heating, lower bills and potentially a longer-lasting furnace. The trick is making sure the air can circulate through the house. Otherwise, all that heat gets trapped or backs up into the system. At that point, the furnace is working more often because the house isn’t warming up. Meanwhile, all that heat will damage the furnace if it can’t escape the way it should.

Insulate Your Water Heater

This is something that helps you year-round, but especially in the winter. According to, you can save up to 16 percent on your water heating bill each year when you insulate your water heater. The “heat moves toward the cold” concept is in play again. If your heater stays warm to the touch, then you’re losing some of that thermal energy to the room.

In the winter, when the basement is colder than upstairs, the heater’s working even harder keeping your water warm. You can shop around for specially-made insulating blankets for heaters. Or, you can (carefully!) DIY it. Just take some measurements, buy a blanket kit and cut it to size for your unit. Turn off the heater, carefully install the blanket, and turn the unit back on.

Get Your Roof Checked

Rochester gets its fair share of snow every winter, and you want to make sure your roof’s ready for it. Sure, those flakes are light a fluffy coming down. But, snow can weigh anywhere from 1 to 21 pounds per cubic foot. That can add up pretty quickly. If you’re roof’s compromised, you’ve got a problem. And, that’s not even considering ice dams and leaks from when the snow finally starts melting. Checking for cracks, holes or other problems in the roof is especially vital before cold weather hits.

Seal and Insulate Your Attic

While you’re on the roof, don’t forget the area just below it: Your attic. If there’s a draft up there, an energy audit will find it. But, if you don’t go that route, it’s worth checking this area anyway. Hot air rises, and when it reaches the attic, it’s easy to escape. That means the warmth keeps rising and then leaks out. So, seal any opening and make sure that area insulated.

Install a Smart Thermostat

Finally, after all that work, you want to make sure you’re measuring and regulating everything correctly. A smart thermostat is the best way to do that.

Talk To Someone About A Smart Thermostat

These thermostats do way more than just measure the temperature and turn your HVAC system on and off. They also detect when people are present, and begin adjusting temperatures on their own based on your patterns. And, they’ll connect to your tablet, laptop, or smartphone via wi-fi. This feature lets you monitor all sorts of metrics from anywhere, and make adjustments as you go. It’s actually a year-round benefit. But, once you’re using your HVAC system full-time in the winter, all those features will really come in handy.
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