Every fall, I take a couple of weeks and dedicate them to preparing the house for winter. I take care of any necessary repairs or weatherproofing around the house and make sure everything is clean. I usually go room by room, look for any problems, and wash everything from the curtains and windows, to the rugs and behind furniture. I take the opportunity to clean the supply vents for the HVAC system, caulk around windows and weatherstrip around doors. Because of the long, cold winters in this area, it is important to eliminate any leaks to the outside. Allowing cold air inside causes drafts, discomfort, and forces the heating system to work harder. Letting the heated air escape outside is just as bad, resulting in higher energy bills. Having a tightly sealed, well-insulated home makes it easier for the furnace to reach and maintain the setting on the thermostat. Because the heater does not need to run as long, it requires less energy and there is less strain on components. I not only save money on my monthly utility bills, but minimize potential malfunctions. Plus, the furnace should last longer. Since the heated air passes through the duct system and furnace, it is important that the inner workings are clean. I hire a professional HVAC contractor for proactive service every fall. With thorough cleaning, he removes any buildup of contaminants, such as dust, dander, webs, mold and mildew. Not only does this promote healthier air quality, but also facilitate airflow through the system. I am then less likely to deal with temperature fluctuations and cold spots. I consider this process my fall cleaning and it makes for a more pleasant winter, while I’m trapped inside the house.