Snow, ice, and cold temperatures–oh my! The days of winter are quickly approaching which means it is time to get your house in tip-top shape. While preparing your house for winter is not at the top of your to-do list, it is better to do it before the winter elements arrive. Here are 8 tips for winterizing your home before the temperature dips.
Heating System Check
A house without heat in the dead of winter can be a nightmare for any homeowner. Your heating system is the most critical element for a home in the colder months. Perform a test run of your heating system to determine if your furnace is running properly. If it isn’t, then now is the time to fix it yourself or call in a pro. In addition to a test run, be sure to replace the air filter and clean your vents so air can flow freely.
Seal and Insulate Doors and Windows
When not properly sealed and insulated, winter drafts can drive up your energy bill. Check the outside moldings, look for air leaks in your doors and windows, and add exterior caulk if necessary.
Inspect Your Fireplace and Chimney
Often ignored in the summer months, your fireplace and chimney can be a major source of air leaks in the winter months. Before the freezing weather sets in, perform a full examination of your chimney and fireplace including the following:
- Clear obstructions such as bird nests
- Check the damper to ensure it can open, close, and lock.
- Test the chimney draft. When a fire is lit, the smoke should rise in the chimney, if it doesn’t then you may have an obstruction.
- Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean your fireplace and chimney.
- Inspect and repair any open mortar joints.
Before enjoying the warm and cozy aspects of your fireplace, be sure to fully inspect it beforehand.
In any season, cleaning your home’s gutters is crucial to ensure they properly drain. When clogged, it can damage your home’s foundation or cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. By taking the time to remove leaves, debris, and twigs now, you will be saving yourself future headaches.
Turn off Outside Faucets
Freezing temperatures and water do not mix, especially when left in your pipes. Undrained water will freeze which can potentially lead to a pipe burst as the ice expands. Be sure to disconnect all your garden hoses and drain the water from the faucets. Many homes older than 10-15 years do not have frost-proof faucets so take the extra step of precaution by turning off the shut-off valve inside your home to prevent any issues.
Trim Nearby Branches
With high winds, the last thing you want is a tree branch damaging your roof or siding. If you have trees surrounding your home, make sure that any limbs or branches are at least 3 feet from your home.
Check Your Roof
Do a quick examination of the roof to prepare for winter. You can either inspect it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Regardless, be sure to check for missing and damaged shingles, as well as the flashing around chimneys and other roof projections as these, are often the source of leaks.
Winterize Your Pipes
While your exterior faucets may be the first thing you think of when preparing for winter, your water supply, and plumbing pipes are just as susceptible. Start by insulating your exposed piping in areas of your home such as a crawlspace or attic by attaching electrical tape and foam insulating sleeves. If you leave your home for several months to head to a warmer state, you should always shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system entirely.
From proper inspections to prevention methods, there are many steps in preparing your home for winter. We hope that these tips will help you prepare your home so that you can enjoy the snow in the cozy comfort of your home.