9 Key Winter Preparations for Homeowners
Winter is coming…Preparing your home for winter by completing this home inspection can keep you warm, prevent cold-weather damage, and reduce your energy bills. Follow these tips to ensure your home is ready for this upcoming season.
1. Check your house for leaks and drafts
Leaks and drafts coming in through cracks in walls, doors and windows can prevent proper heating and increase energy bills.
· Put caulk, foam or weatherstripping around moving doors and windows.
· Use bubble wrap or a window insulator kit to seal up windows you won’t be using.
· Add a storm door to reduce heat loss at the main entrance.
· Install insulation in your attic to prevent ceiling heat loss.
· Replace poorly insulated doors made of wood with an Energy Star-rated door like steel or fiberglass.
· Cover mail slots and pet doors with insulation or heavy towels to keep warm air in and cold air out.
· Use blackout curtains on your windows, keeping them open during the day to let the sun in and closing them at night to keep the heat in.
2. Get a chimney inspection
Before you use your fireplace or wood stove for heating, have the chimney or flue inspected and cleaned by a professional. This and other types of wood burning appliances can quickly cause major home damage if not maintained properly. A blocked chimney or flue can also increase your chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t forget fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
3. Have your furnace inspected
If you have a furnace, you should have it inspected each year. If your furnace isn’t working properly, an early inspection can give you time to buy a new one before winter sets in.
· Additionally, you should also clean your air ducts to ensure proper air flow.
· Also, routinely change your furnace filters to keep it working properly.
4. Cover bare floors
Laminate, wood, and tile floors look great, but they can cause you to lose heat during the winter. As part of your winter home maintenance checklist, consider adding rugs or installing carpet over your bare floors to keep your feet warm and prevent heat loss.
5. Winterize Sprinklers
The sprinkler system should not be overlooked when preparing your home for winter. If you have a lawn service that handles this, have it come to drain and winterize the system no later than October. Winterizing a sprinkler system is also fairly easy to do yourself. It involves shutting off the water, draining the pipes, blowing them free of water, and then opening test cocks on the vacuum breaker to allow air into the system. This prevents trapped water from freezing and cracking the plastic water lines.
6. Trim Tree Branches
The last thing you need is a winter storm to blow over a tree near you house and causing damage. Not to mention, overhanding limbs can cause excess water to seep into cracks in your home’s roof or siding, which is why you want to make sure any tree limbs or branches surrounding your home are at least 3 feet away from the house.
7. Clean your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters or downspouts can damage your home’s foundation or cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. So, after the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris. Also, make sure the gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water, tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any worn or damaged materials. This will help a lot with drainage when snow beings to melt.
8. Invest in an easy-to-read thermometer
It’s always a good idea to have a large, easy-to-read thermometer in a convenient location inside the home. Elders may not feel temperature differences as easily, which can cause serious health issues, especially if they live alone. Having a thermometer and checking the temperature regularly can help you know when to bundle up or if there could be a potential heat loss problem in the home.
9. Ensure Winter Gear is Ready
Get a head start on the snow by making sure your winter gear and equipment is ready to go. Bring out the winter clothes from storage and check their quality. Get your shovels, ice picks, snow blowers, etc. out of the garage or shed. Last, ensure your home and vehicle