As a chill returns to the air and the leaves begin to turn, the undeniable proof that winter will soon be arriving is everywhere. Unfortunately, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which was released several weeks ago, has predicted another season of record cold and snowfall for most of the country.
While temperatures a few degrees colder than normal might not be a concern to some, Almanac editor Janice Stillman warned that the temperatures and conditions may be downright frigid. “Colder is just almost too familiar a term,” Stillman said. “Think of it as a refriger-nation.”
To prepare for the upcoming frosty weather, it is recommended that homeowners take early steps to prepare themselves, their homes, and their heating systems – including fireplaces and stoves – to bear the brunt of a particularly nasty winter.
Preparing your fireplace for winter
One of the most important steps homeowners can take to prepare their homes for winter is to have an annual sweep and inspection done during the fall. During a Level I inspection, which is all that is required for homes that have regularly used fireplaces with no apparent problems, a trained technician will evaluate the fireplace and chimney structure for signs of damage and structural integrity. In addition, during a regular cleaning any harmful buildup of creosote in the chimney structure will be removed.
Having this inspection completed during the fall before fireplaces begin their heavy use period ensures that your fireplace and chimney will be safe, free from safety hazards, and ready to use when cold weather strikes.
Invest in a high efficiency heating appliance
As the temperatures drop, more and more homeowners will turn their thermostats up. This causes a seasonal rise in both electricity and gas bills, which can have major effects on a family’s budget. Rather than turning up the temperature or putting on an extra layer of clothing, it may be a smart idea to invest in a high efficiency heating appliance, such as a pellet stove.
Pellet stoves are a popular choice for alternative heating source due to their low cost and ease of operation. Rather than going through the hassle of cutting, splitting, seasoning, and storing firewood, homeowners can instead buy several bags of pellets at a time, which can be easily stored in garages or sheds. Likewise, because they are made of compacted, recycled materials, pellets burn up to 15% more efficiently than wood, creating less ash, less smoke, and less waste.
Consider alternative heating sources
When the electricity goes out during a winter storm, most family’s primary concern is how to keep warm until power is restored. Luckily, there are several alternative heat source options that require no electricity to run, keeping your home comfortable until the electricity returns.
The Magic Broom has a 20,000 square foot showroom packed through our sister company, the Tri County Hearth and Patio Center. They have the latest in wood burning fireplaces, stoves, and inserts, most of which do not require electricity to run. Their experienced staff will be able to help you choose the right appliance for your family’s needs. Contact us today to make sure that your home and family stay warm all winter long.