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Preparing Your Home for Winter

Fall is a great time to prepare your heating systems for the winter months ahead. Whether your home uses a radiator or a furnace, The American Cleaning Institute has tips to help keep your heaters clean.

Furnace

If your furnace has a reusable filter, make sure the furnace is off, then take the filter out to clean it. Note the direction of air flow, as you’ll need to put the filter back in the right direction. Some filters can be washed with soap and water or rinsed with just water, but others can’t, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions first. After washing the filter, let it air dry completely before putting it back in place.

If your filter is disposable, don’t reuse it. You’ll need to throw it out and get a new one. Don’t forget to clean the HVAC air vents and registers as well. Run the vacuum around the vents and registers using the dust brush attachment.

Cast Iron Radiators

If you live in an old house or apartment, you may have a cast iron radiator instead. Make sure the heat is off before you start cleaning. Use the crevice tool attachment on your vacuum to remove dirt and debris from under the radiator, then place ole towels or sheets on the floor to catch and debris that might fall as you’re cleaning. If your radiator looks really dusty, consider wearing a mask to minimize the amount of dust you might breathe in.

Use a brush attachment to vacuum dust and dirt from the radiator. Run a radiator brush – or a long stick with a clean cloth wrapped around the end – through the radiator openings. Start from the top and work your way down to dislodge dust and dirt.

Dampen a clean cloth or a non-abrasive sponge with mild detergent and water and scrub the surface of the radiator. If the cloth or sponge gets too dirty, rinse it with clean water. Once the radiator is clean, wipe it with a clean cloth to prevent the iron from rusting. Remember to wash the old towels or sheets when you’re done.

Windows

If your home has drafty windows, it’s a good idea to insulate them to keep the heat inside. Cleaning the windows first will help your insulation job stay in place. Use a cloth to remove dirt and dust from the window frames and sills. A small broom or vacuum can be useful for getting rid of larger debris.

Plastic and vinyl frames and sills can be wiped down with cleaning wipes. If you use a spray product, be sure to spray the product on a cloth, and then use the cloth to clean only the sills and frame. For glass, spray glass cleaner on a cloth and then use the cloth to clean the glass only.

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