As the coldest months approach, households in colder regions are gearing up to keep their homes warm and cozy. Beyond the concern for comfort, there's the worry of surging energy bills as heating becomes a constant need. Maintaining warmth in winter doesn't solely rely on keeping the heater on 24/7. There are creative and energy-efficient ways to keep your home snug while curbing energy costs. Here are five effective strategies:

Before putting up Christmas decorations, make sure you've completed all the pre-winter maintenance. 

1. Check your heating system

Inspect your HVAC system before winter arrives. You may want to contact a licensed heating contractor like one from ARS-Rescue Rooter to check your gas heater or furnace. Also, don't forget to drain the expansion tank and check the water pressure if hot water is used for heating in your rentals. 

Keep in mind that regular inspections help you notice problems before they become full-blown emergencies

2. Clean fireplace and chimney

How will Santa Claus get into the house if the chimney is blocked? Or how will your tenants enjoy a cozy evening by the fireplace if it hasn't been properly cleaned? If you have one, make time for fireplace and chimney cleaning to prevent additional repairs in the dead of winter. Additionally, conduct annual chimney inspections to ensure it's safe to use. By doing so, you'll prevent chimney fires and improve indoor air quality. 

If you aren't a guru of chimney maintenance, you might want to hire a chimney sweep who will perform an inspection, remove soot, identify other damages, and fix them shortly.

3. Repair steps and inspect the roof

Repair any cracks in your porch steps before the temperature drops below zero. A cracked surface covered with winter ice is a double danger. Plus, cracks can get much worse in the winter due to temperature changes and moisture. It's also worth taking preventative measures to avoid injury, like placing snow-melting mats on the porch and stairs or bags of salt in the garage. 

Apart from that, your seasonal winter maintenance should include cleaning roof shingles and clearing out the gutters. Keep in mind that you won't be able to do that during freezing temperatures. 

4. Prevent pipes from freezing

It's important to keep water flowing through water pipes and keep them warm to prevent freezing. Running water through the pipe helps prevent pipes from freezing, so let the cold water drip from a faucet. If you're concerned about wasting hot water, turn off the electric breaker to your hot water heater. 

5. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Heating costs constitute a significant portion of annual energy bills, especially during the winter. Consider a smart programmable thermostat that allows you to set house temperatures based on the surrounding conditions at different times of the day. Program the thermostat to adjust for warmer temperatures in the morning and evening.

Prioritize Rental Maintenance

As a landlord, taking care of rental maintenance is super important. When something goes wrong, it can be a real hassle for both you and your tenants. You can avoid costly repairs and keep your tenants happy by addressing maintenance issues quickly.

If you're ever unsure how to handle a maintenance request, you can easily find a service professional to help by posting a bid request. To make things even easier, you can assign recurring winter maintenance requests to service professionals and set them to recur once a year right from the maintenance request page.

Check out the Help Center for instructions on finding a service professional.

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