Better Contractors Bureau
COLD WEATHER TIPS
BCB Executive Director
Preparing Your Furnace For Winter
stay a lot more comfortable this winter if you
warm up to these tips to keep your furnace
Have your furnace checked to uncover leaks in
the heat exchanger, soot, rust, corroded
contacts and frayed wires.
Heat pumps and oil fired furnaces require yearly
tune ups. Manufacturers recommend having your
gas fired furnace cleaned every other year.
When the furnace is started for the first time
be sure the system runs through a full heating
cycle to ensure it has plenty of combustion and
air and chimney draft. Contractors use draft
gauges to check for sufficient draft. They will
also test for carbon monoxide leaks.
Have the burner and heat exchanger cleaned to
remove soot that can impede smooth operation.
Your best efficiency hinges on adjusting the
burner flame to the right size and color,
adjusting the flow of gas or changing the fuel
filter in an oil fired system. A proper check of
the heat pump should include an inspection of
the compressor and fan.
While thermostats hardly ever fail, they can
degrade over time as mechanical parts stick or
lose their calibration. Remember, whether your
thermostat is old or new, the hole where the
thermostat wires comes through the wall needs to
be caulked or a draft could trick it into
thinking the room is warmer or colder than it
When calling a contractor to service your
furnace, or for a complete new heating system
always check them out with the Better
Contractors Bureau to make sure they are
registered members! To be sure always look for
the BCB logo.
Keep Animals From Getting Into Your House
cold weather comes you might as well hang a
vacancy sign on the lawn inviting pests into
your home if you don’t do something to prevent
them from entering. There are many tempting
places in your house where unwanted critters are
likely to get in. Below are a trio of pests that
account for 80 percent of animal break-ins and
preventive measures to stop them.
MICE & RATS
Diameter of entry hole: 1/4 inch or
Likely entry points: Garage, basement,
gaps around utility lines.
Signs of infestation: 1/8 inch long
droppings; smell of urine; noises at night;
holes gnawed in food boxes.
Preventive measures; Seal exterior gaps
with mortar; weather-strip the bottom of
basement and garage doors; keep all foodstuffs
in hard plastic, glass, or steel containers.
Stopgap measures: Stuff copper mesh or
bronze wool into foundation cracks.
Job for a pro?; Probably not, but a large
breeding population might require professional
Diameter of entry hole: 2 1/2 inch or
Likely entry points: Where dormers meet
roofs or where roof shingles overhang fascia
boards. ( The second-story men of household
pests, squirrels can jump 10 to 12 feet through
Signs of infestation: Scampering noises
in ceilings or attics; insulation missing from
spots near eaves; 1/2 inch droppings; piles of
Preventive measures: Prune trees away
from house; keep roof and exterior trim in
pristine repair; remove bird feeders. Nail
hardware cloth over potential entry points until
they can be repaired. This a job for a pro!
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