Prepping your home for the winter will save you money, guard you from unnecessary repairs, and protect your home from winter’s harsh weather.
Below are some specific tasks that will prepare your home for the drop in temperature:
1. Seal air leaks Even the most efficient HVAC system cannot stand up against a poorly sealed home. Old windows and doors, lights, vents, and crawl spaces can let heat escape from your home. You may already notice where the cold spots are in your house, but to be sure, use a lit candle to identify drafty areas. Watch to see if the flame flickers from any drafts. If it does, it could be time to think about installing energy-efficient windows and doors. A simple application of caulk or weather stripping could also solve the problem.
2.Check your insulation. Perhaps one of the biggest culprits of heat loss is insufficient insulation. A professional can examine your home to identify which areas could benefit from more insulation. There are several options available.
3.Weatherproof your windows. Along with installing new, energy-efficient windows or using caulk to seal leaks, adding storm windows could also guard you against colder temperatures. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be opening your windows in the winter, locking them can eliminate any space between the frame and the window.
Simply engaging your lock will provide an additional layer of protection against the cold.
4.Switch ceiling fans to turn clockwise. Changing the direction of your fan from counterclockwise to clockwise will help circulate warm air throughout the room. The blades will push the warm air downward to help maintain a warmer room.
5.Have a professional perform maintenance on your furnace. An HVAC professional should inspect your furnace before you turn it on for the winter. During the inspection, he or she will check your system to see if it’s running efficiently as well as detect whether there are any abnormal sounds or smells coming from the system. Regular maintenance will ensure that everything is operating properly.
6.Have a professional inspect your chimney. Over time, creosote—a combination of soot and ash–can build up in the chimney, reducing the diameter of the flue and restricting the escape of smoke during a fire. Not only will this buildup make your home smoky, but creosote is extremely flammable, which could cause a fire in your flue. A clean chimney allows smoke to escape more freely, which increases the efficiency of your fireplace as a whole. If you happen to have a gas fireplace, annual cleaning is also a must to avoid any potential problems.
7.Prepare your pipes. Pipes cannot withstand freezing winter temperatures. To prevent pipes from freezing and bursting, completely drain and shut off the water to any outside pipes. If there are any unheated areas of your home with exposed pipes, wrap the pipes in insulation to keep them warm during the winter.
Also remember to disconnect hoses attached to any water pipes and turn off the water.
8.Test your smoke detector. During the winter, the use of space heaters and wood-burning fireplaces could cause residential fires. Test your smoke detector to make sure that it’s operating properly to safeguard you from any fires.
9.Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters restrict the flow of water, and during the winter, rain and snow can create ice dams that further clog the gutters. If your gutters are clogged, your home can experience water damage when the gutters leak down the side of your house or up under your roof. After fall, clear the gutters of all leaves and debris, and inspect them for any damage.
10.Replace the filter in your furnace.Change the furnace filters regularly. Some suggest every three months; others suggest monthly. At least take a look at the filter after 30 days of operation. You’ll be able to tell if it needs to be changed. If your filter still looks pretty good, you can put off changing it.
11. Close any vents in your home that may have been opened for the warm weather.
12. Keep extra water and canned food in storage just in case.
Winterizing your home can help prevent unexpected issues from popping up, and you can enjoy the season knowing that your home will withstand winter’s severe temperatures.