Heavy snowfall and cold temperatures can create an array of challenges for homeowners if you don't prepare in advance. With harsh winter conditions come drafty doors and windows, an overworked furnace and of course—rising energy costs.
Taking the time to run through some pre-winter preparation now can save you from costly and difficult repairs during the winter months. Prepare now so you don’t pay for it later!
Winterizing Tips for Outside the Home
Make sure gutters are clear of debris and that downspouts are secure and functioning properly. Downspouts should be directed at least 5 feet away from the house to prevent water damage to your home’s foundation.
Inspect the roof for damaged or missing shingles. Replace them if needed.
Check all vents and openings that lead into your home for nests and other debris.
Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney. Blockages and buildup can lead to dangerous conditions such as insufficient ventilation and fires. Yearly maintenance will ensure your unit works safely and efficiently throughout the winter.
Disconnect hoses otherwise ice can form and pressure can build up in the water lines inside your home. If this happens, a water line leak or break could occur and cause severe damage to your home.
Trim overgrown branches that may be a threat in heavy winter storms.
Clean and store patio furniture.
Clean dirt and debris from the deck or patio to help prevent mold growth.
Check the outdoor lighting. Make certain steps and potentially icy walkways are well lit.
Inspect or install handrails on exterior stairways.
Rearrange the garage to make winter tools more accessible.
Check your supply of sand or ice melt.
Crank up the snow blower. It may not be time to use it yet, but it’s time to inspect the machine for needed repairs and maintenance.
Clean all seasonal tools and give them a light spray of oil for rust prevention.
Winterizing Tips for Inside the Home
Put fresh batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Test to make sure they are operating properly, these detecting devices should be replaced at least every ten years.
Have a qualified heating technician inspect your furnace and perform any required maintenance.
Change your filters monthly to help your furnace run more efficiently and improve airflow. This will save energy and prevent a high heating bill.
Clean / replace humidifier evaporator pads.
Insulate water pipes by wrapping them in a blanket of foam insulation. Pipes in areas of the home that may not be heated well, such as a basement or crawl space, can possibly have water freeze which may cause the pipes to burst and potentially flood your home.
Change ceiling fan rotation. Clock-wise rotation channels warmer air downward in the winter, while counter-clockwise fan rotation results in cooler air being pushed down in the warmer seasons.
Incoming drafts can waste 5% - 30% of your energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Cold air can seep in around windows and underneath doors, allowing warm air to escape. For this reason, caulk where needed, install weather stripping around doors and windows, ensure door sweeps seal properly and consider adding storm doors and windows.
If you don't have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one to help control energy costs.
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