While winter brings festive decorations, holiday parties, and ski season, it also brings cold weather that can damage your home if you aren't prepared. Fall is the best time to winterize your home. Proper winterization involves HVAC tuning, as well as reviewing the critical mechanical and structural systems of your home. By taking care of these elements in time, you can make sure that you are able to enjoy the snow in a cozy comfort without worrying about your property.
Following are some things you should take care of to ensure that your home is fully prepared:
Now is the time to replace your furnace filter as well as close any vents in your house that may have been opened for the warm weather. Test and make sure that your heating system is functioning properly as well.
Check electrical switch plates and outlets to see if you feel a draft. Add insulation so that the warm air cannot escape from these spaces. You should also check the base of ceiling lighting fixtures to ensure you aren't getting a draft from your attic.
Wood stoves and chimneys should be cleaned early in the season. This is particularly important if you own a fireplace. After cleaning the chimney, make sure to clean the furnace flue as well. Test the flue for a tight seal when closed. There's nothing worse than a cold down-draft entering your home due to a worn seal that lets cold air in when the fireplace isn't in use.
Keeping your home warm is going to be very difficult and expensive if heat is escaping through your windows and the space around them. Use weather stripping or caulk to weatherproof your existing windows. If your current home has single-pane windows, these will not provide your home with the insulation you desire. If your budget allows, install double-paned, energy-efficient windows. While new windows may seem like an expensive front up front, you stand to save in the long run on your energy bill year-round.
Ideally, you should have your downspouts and gutters cleaned mid-fall. You should double check them before the start of the winter season to ensure any remaining leaves falling from trees have clogged your downspout. If you do encounter leaking or clogs in difficult to reach places, it is recommended that you call in the professionals.
Seal the Deck
Give your deck a fresh coat of sealer before the winter arrives so that it is protected from the harsh elements of weather.
Have a contractor look for damaged roof shingles. You want to make sure that any missing or damaged shingles are replaced. It is also recommended that you check the flashing around chimneys as well as other roof projections for leaks. If necessary, have repairs made. Don't forget to make sure that the downspouts and gutters are clean.
Fall is the best time to winterize your sprinkler system. If you missed it, hire professional help as soon as possible so you can avoid cracks or frozen pipes that can ruin the whole system. It would also be a good idea to turn off the water and disconnect all outside hoses from their spouts.
Prepare the Landscape
Last but not least, you will want to prepare your landscape for winter as well. Make sure to follow the standard garden and lawn care winterizing procedures, e.g. making sure trees and shrubs are properly pruned, proper fall care for the lawn, flower beds, as well as other planting areas, etc. After completing these tasks, clean and store your outdoor furniture and other accessories to keep them in shape for next year.
Winter can be a lot to handle. Don't add to the frustration with high energy bills, personal injury, and property damage. Take these necessary steps to winterize your home. The above-listed tips will help you in this regard.