With the recent snowfall and winter on its way, it is important to know how to get your home ready for the cold weather. Whether you dread the cold, or you’re looking forward to the snowfall, preparing now for the winter months will help you sleep easiest knowing you, your family, and your home are fully prepared and protected. Below is a checklist that you can use when starting to prepare your home for the winter.
1. Weatherize your home’s exterior and interior
One way to do this is to inspect and weatherize your windows for winter. We suggest considering to invest in weather stripping for windows and entryways and anywhere air could be escaping or penetrating. This includes sealing air vents and foundation cracks. If you have any concerns about how to do this or how well your home is sealed, you may consider consulting a professional or your local energy company.
2. Insulate pipes to help prevent freezing
When pipes are not insulated correctly, this can lead to frozen pipes which can burst and lead to expensive repairs. Pay special attention to pipes in unheated, or poorly heated areas of your home such as the basement or utility room. Another way to make sure your pipes do not burst is to disconnect all outside water hoses. Areas with pipes should be kept at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent freezing. If the pipe is in an especially cold area, consider a slow drip to avoid freezing. If your pipes do freeze, thaw carefully with a steady, warm airflow. Use heat sources, such as space heaters or hair dryers cautiously. In addition, if you discover a frozen pipe, you should check all water sources as it is likely there are other frozen pipes as well.
3. Maintain and repair tools
Be sure that blowers and all other tools are properly maintained with fresh oil, gasoline, and new spark plugs. You should also purchase a sufficient supply of ice melt for sidewalks and driveways.
4. Hire a professional to inspect your HVAC system
A great way to prepare your home for the winter is with regular HVAC maintenance. Not only will this extend the life of your HVAC unit, but proper maintenance could also improve heating efficiency and keep your home warm. If your HVAC system is in need of repair, the increased usage during winter months could cause your system to break down when you need it the most.
5. Clean your fireplace and chimneys
Regular maintenance is crucial to energy efficiency, however, a poorly maintained fireplace can also be a safety hazard. Debris or residue in your chimney can lead to fire and poor ventilation.
6. Clean and repair gutters and drains
In a previous blog, we discuss the importance of cleaning your gutters and why this is essential to making sure your home is functioning properly. Making sure to remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris from gutters will help to prevent blockage. Make sure downspouts are secure and extend at least five feet away from your foundation to help prevent damage from melting snow. Extra water weight can loosen guttering and downspouts so be sure these are fastened properly. Lastly, ensure that openings are covered to help prevent nesting from rodents, birds, or insects in need of shelter.
7. Check your roof for damages
Replace missing or damaged shingles before winter will help to avoid a leaky roof. While you’re at it, repair or replace deteriorated flashing around gutters, skylights, and chimneys. Use roofing cement to seal leaks where air or water could penetrate. Consider purchasing a roof rake to clear snow from your roof to avoid excess weight.
8. Trim trees and prune bushes
The extra weight of snow can increase the burden on tree limbs, potentially increasing the possibility of breakage. Depending on the size of the limb and the proximity to your house, this can be dangerous. Take extra precautions by brushing the snow off of tree limbs and bushes after each snowfall as soon as weather permits. A better solution would be to get your home ready for winter by trimming trees in the fall.