Getting Your Home Ready for Winter
If you think the summer weather is rough in places like Florida, Arizona, and Texas, it’s nothing compared to the strain houses go through in the rest of the country as temperatures start to dip down towards the freezing line. Staying warm and keeping energy costs down during the winter starts with sealing the exterior of the house to keep the cold temperatures out.
Here are a few important tasks to add to your to-do list before the cold temperatures hit:
Most of what homeowners pay towards heating literally goes to waste by escaping through cracks and faulty handiwork around the home. There are many simple, inexpensive, and very effective home improvement projects that you can do to reduce the amount of heat that is sneaking out of your home. • Check weatherstripping.
Go around to all the windows and exterior doors throughout the house and make sure the weatherstripping is in good condition and firmly fastened against the rim of the door or window. Weatherstripping is cheap at any hardware store and definitely worth replacing if you run into any worn areas.
• Secure/ insulate outlets. A small amount of air leaks out through insecure and improperly insulated outlets. This is another simple, cost-effective fix. Make sure all your outlets are flush against the wall and firmly secured.
• Check for hidden leaks. About 30% of the heat loss in a home leaves through gaps and openings in walls made for pipes. Once again, with a little insulation this is a quick and inexpensive fix. Check under sinks, in the basement, garage, attic or laundry room. Anywhere where piping is coming in, make sure those pipes are going through your wall with no extra space where air can escape.
Here are a few more chores that are absolutely necessary before the cold is here to stay:
• Clean the gutters. Cleaning out the gutters before the winter snows and rains hit can make the difference between a few uncomfortable hours up on the ladder and costly repairs to your home. If clogged, gutters can accumulate heavy amounts of snow, leaves, and debris and cause serious damage to your home. You may want to wait until halfway through fall, so you get most of the leaves for the year. Make sure to flush out downspouts to make sure they are unobstructed.
• Have your heater inspected. The worst time to find out your HVAC isn’t up to shape is when you need it most. Even worse, if the damage is bad, repairs or replacement could take weeks. So don’t wait until winter kicks in to make sure your heater is up to the task. If you have a wood-burning stove that you plan to get a lot of use out of, make sure to have your chimney cleaned out before winter. Old smoke can build up and really affect the quality of your air, and even worse, spark highly dangerous chimney fires.
• Insulate water pipes. During the winter water pipes can get so cold they freeze and burst. Obviously, this is incredibly inconvenient and costly. If you live in areas with extreme cold, this issue is easily preventable by buying and installing foam pipe insulation.
Hopefully, with these easy jobs you can keep your home and family warm over the winter months to come. Bundle up!