Remember all those days during the summer when you set up the grill, cooked some wieners, opened a cold, crispy can of suds, and got a good old farmer’s tan? Those days are long gone. Hate to break it to you, but Labor Day just passed, and summer is over. Fall is here (for what is about two weeks of falling leaves and reasonable temperatures in Northern Colorado), and winter is right around the corner, ready to destroy your green lawn and freeze your boogers. Grab a snow shovel, some tissues, and your ski goggles—winter is coming.

Will your home be ready when the cold winter sets in? If not, you could be in for a winter full of budget-busting energy bills, chilly indoor temperatures, water leaks and damage, and the terrible feeling of bare feet hitting an icy tile floor.

It’s time to act and make some changes to your home while the temperature is still reasonable. In this blog, the Fort Collins HVAC team at Ace Hi will give you the ultimate to-do list for preparing your home for winter. Do you really want to make these fixes when the snow is coming down and your toes are going numb? Of course not. Now get to work!

Seal up the cracks and crevices.

Your house is much like a ship venturing across the Atlantic (minus the smell of salt and fish, hopefully). If your ship is well-sealed and seaworthy, you’ll be in for some smooth sailing on your journey. But if your ship has some cracks and leaks—you’re in trouble.

If your home has gaps, cracks, or seams near doors, windows or vents, you’re letting cold air in and expensive HVAC air out. This leads to a chillier, less pleasant you, and a pricier, less pleasant energy bill. Before the first snow, it’s time to right the ship by finding these draft-friendly gaps and sealing them up for good.

To find drafts, take a look around your doors and windows. Do you see any openings that are letting light in? Are your doors and windows closing tightly with a strong seal? If you notice some draft potential in these areas, you need to head to the hardware store for some caulking solution, weatherstripping, and door sweeps to create a tighter, seaworthy seal.

It’s also worth noting that door misalignment is often the cause of door gaps and drafts. Make some hinge adjustments to reverse the effects that gravity can have on your door, and create a seal that’s tighter and more uniform around the outer edges of your door.

Install a programmable thermostat.

Running your HVAC system all day long on a low temperature is great way to keep your pipes from bursting on a super-cold day. However, if you’re cranking your system all day when nobody is home, you’re costing yourself a ton of money. Is it really worth it to walk into a warm home at the end of a long workday if your energy bill is burning a hole in your wallet?

Fortunately, you can have your heat and eat it, too. Programmable thermostats allow you to adjust your home’s temperature in real-time, even when you’re not at home—or at the very least, cheaper models can allow you set a temperature “schedule” for your thermostat that kicks your heater into high gear a few minutes before you leave the office at the end of the day. Either way, a programmable thermostat will pay for itself in terms of energy savings, and ensure that your home is warm and comfortable when you need warmth and comfort the most.

Insulate the attic.

When was the last time you went into your attic? Were you looking for your old Ouija board so you could catch up with Grandma? Did you bring a dust mask and a flamethrower to take care of a pesky rat pack? Whatever the case, your attic could be letting as much as 30 percent of your HVAC air out of your home. At that point, you might as well set your cash on fire to keep warm.

If you’re looking for a comfortable home and impressive energy savings, it’s time venture into the void that is your attic and make some home improvements. Seal up any gaps near vents or chimneys with caulking solution and spray foam insulation, and replace that dusty, bug-infested insulation with a newer, younger model. Standard insulation might do in some cases, but this is Colorado, not Miami Beach. Opt for the heavy-duty, R-49 insulation to keep things warm and toasty all winter long.

Have your HVAC system serviced.

It doesn’t matter how well-sealed your home is or how programmable your thermostat is—if your HVAC unit is in poor shape, you’re going to pay a premium on your energy bill and constantly wonder why “88 degrees” on your thermostat doesn’t mean “88 degrees” in your home. Just like you, your HVAC system can get sick in the wintertime—it can get plugged up, start wheezing, and become unable to operate at its very best. In cases like these, it’s time to call the HVAC doctors.

That’s where Ace Hi can help. We’re happy to help you get your HVAC system into perfect working order before winter comes around. Call us for regularly scheduled maintenance, an inspection, an installation, or some emergency work if your system shuts down when temperature dip. With no emergency charges before 8 p.m., you can rest easy knowing we’re here to help at a reasonable price. Get started with Ace Hi today!