Winter is coming, and this means that a fresh chill is in the air. Sometimes, though, that fresh chill can start sneaking into your home as well. Winterizing your home can save you money and maintenance in the long run! But, while most people understand that winterizing is a good idea, it can seem overwhelming, unless you know what to look for and know what each house needs for an individualized winterizing plan.
Get a Winter Inspection
As the country is heading into winter, it’s a great start to get your home inspected for places where air and water can sneak in and make your house a lot colder than you’ve intended. A qualified inspection can show you where drafts are attacking your heating bill! Since winterizing needs vary depending upon house size, location and climate, and whether or not you will be living in the home through the wintertime, finding an expert to advise you is important. Looking at winterization checklists can seem daunting—especially when you don’t want to accidentally wind up with broken pipes or giant heating bills! Most folks would much rather prepare for winter by playing in the snow or hiding in soft blankets. An inspection can use specialized equipment to show you where you have air leaks and need insulating against winter chill.
Insulate and Seal Your Home
There are so many places where drafts can come in, stealing your warmth and money in the form of heating bills. From chimney flues needing adjusting, to older windows and doors which shrink slightly with the chill, there are lots of spaces to look for escaping air. In order to protect your home from the chill, you must insulate and seal your entry points so warm air doesn’t escape. This can include caulking up areas around window frames, setting up draft guards on doors, and installing storm doors and windows if you don’t have them already.
Make Sure Your Pipes Don’t Freeze
It’s a nightmare to imagine pipes freezing and bursting with the expansion of the water inside of them. The process of draining individual pipes and making sure that they will not burst, and then insulating them, can feel complex. It’s important to keep your heat on at a minimum level in order to encourage interior pipes to be safe throughout the winter. It seems counter-intuitive to an inexpensive heating bill, but in the end, protecting the pipes by having the heat on will save much more by preventing damage.
Clear Gutters and Roof
One thing that’s easy to forget on the winter list is that gutters and roofs need winterizing, too. Often leaves and pine needles can pile up on roofs after fall storms, and then when winter hits, they freeze. This can form an ice dam on your roof, which can expand and crack your roofing! This can cause leaks into your home, and future mold issues, which nobody wants to happen. A little sweeping off in advance can prevent a lot of later damage.
Protect Your Deck
Another place forgotten in winter, but needed in spring, is your deck. The same rules of removing clutter, sweeping off pine needles and leaves, and pressure washing and sealing exposed spots can go a long way towards making your deck survive the winter freeze. Also, while many think of deck accessories as comfy chairs for enjoying summer sunshine, and shiny grills for barbecues, there are some additional deck features that can help protect it from snow and rain. While you might be saving up for a beautiful awning, you can begin now with specialized tarps and covers for deck features you already enjoy.
Looking Up and Down
It’s easy to remember to look around the doorways and windows where you might actively feel air coming in, but hidden locations still can sneakily be missed. One place that’s often forgotten is the basement, and another is the attic. Even the garage needs a quick check to make sure there’s no air seepage. Making sure your home has adequate insulation in both locations can save money in the long run, and keep your family comfortable all year round.
No Cold Showers
Nobody wants to run out of warm water faster in the winter, when a nice hot bath or warm shower after a long, cold day is a soothing and relaxing option. While you’re looking through your winterization list, make sure you don’t forget the water heater. Updating insulation can help, not only with making sure pipes don’t freeze, but making sure your hot showers don’t become lukewarm!
Unfortunately, not Dick Van Dyke
When winterizing your house, if you’re lucky enough to own a fireplace, there are other considerations to make sure you are prepared to begin those beautiful and relaxing winter fires. Of course, you will want to hire a chimney sweep every few years, to make sure your chimney is safely inspected and ready for the winter to come. This is critical to clear out debris, and make sure that everything is in working order. After you’ve lit the first fire is not the time to discover that your flue is jammed shut, or that birds were inhabiting it all spring and summer. There’s no guarantee any dancing chimney sweeps will be available in your area, but you will have greater peace of mind if you know your fireplace is well prepared for romantic moments to come.
No Cold Toes
Your furnace, of course, needs to be prepared so that when it’s first turned on, you’re not surprised with a blast of dirt and a smell of burning…something. You can prepare ahead by making sure that nothing is stored near your furnace which could burn or be damaged. Likewise, changing your filters frequently and being prepared to get standard, regular maintenance visits can also be helpful. Keeping yourself warm all winter makes a big difference to your enjoyment of the cold months, and can also save your pipes from freezing over.
Prepare to Succeed
If this list is starting to seem overwhelming during an already hectic time of the year, don’t worry! Having a professional to guide you in what is needed in order to seal your home tight against winter winds can bring you peace of mind, and save you a great deal of money in the long run.
A prepared house makes for a warm and happy home, and it’s a full time job to help provide this peace of mind for the long winter to come. With these tips, you can make sure that your home is safe and prepared for the upcoming winter weathered.
The best way to find out what any issues are with your home is to have it inspection. Contact us to schedule an inspection today!