It’s that time of year again! Winter is here, bringing some concerns to you and your home. To ensure your home can withstand the cold, consider these five ways to prepare your home for winter.
Check Your Gutters
While you were enjoying the gorgeous autumn season, leaves and grime were building up in your gutters. Now, all of a sudden, it’s winter. That means it’s time to clean out your gutters before the snow falls. If they’re left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams, allowing water to seep into your home.
Also be sure that your gutters and downspouts are properly fastened. The weight of snow and ice can pull them off your roof. Don’t let a small problem turn into a huge one! Having an extension to your downspout, 3-5 feet from the foundation, ensures water is diverted from your home.
Seal Up Your Windows and Doors
Windows and doors withstand a lot of traffic throughout your home. Making sure that they’re working properly is essential. Be sure to check all the interior and exterior seals, weather stripping and doorframes for drafts while in the locked position. Door sweeps, found at the bottom of the door, are easy and inexpensive to install if they are worn. They help prevent heat from sneaking out and cold weather from crawling in under your door by providing an airtight seal.
Check windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Examine window frames, especially if they’re made of wood, for signs of rot and decay. Fill in any gaps between your siding and windows that are larger than the width of a nickel with caulk. Silicone caulk is best for the exterior. While you’re at it, remove any air conditioners from the windows or cover them with insulated liners.
Heat Things Up
It’s important to make the proper preparations before heating your home for the first frost. Check your firebox and flue system in your fireplace to make sure they are clean and have no cracks. You want to ensure there are no drafts, as well as making sure the vents are clean and in good repair. This can prevent chimney fires and keep carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.
You’ll also need to give your furnace or heating system a tune up. Check for carbon monoxide leaks, damages or filth build up, and replace clean air filters.
Another tip: when turning on the heat, reverse your ceiling fans, so they rotate clockwise. This can help push the hot air down. Hot air rises, so this is helpful to those with high ceilings. Don’t forget to check that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. It could be life saving!
Check the Roof and Vents
Repairing your roof or ventilation during the middle of the winter can be very difficult. So it’s important to check the roof for any last minute repairs. Look for damaged or missing shingles to avoid any leaks. Preventing ice dams on your roof not only can save the exterior, but interior of your home, too.
Double check that any air leaks are sealed and your home is properly ventilated. For older homes, make sure soffit vents aren’t blocked and gable vents are opened. Be certain that all the openings to your home, such as vents, are covered to prevent unwanted guests (rodents!) from nesting in your warm home.
“Out of sight, out of mind” can have you forgetting to check on your air ducts. Don’t shorten your heater’s life by making it work harder. If you have improper sealing and insulation, your central heating system loses about 20% of air. Insulating behind outlets can help you keep the air in.
Drain and Shut Off Outside Water Lines
Before all the snow and ice comes in, make sure to turn off and drain any of your outside water pipes and lines. This can help keep your pipes from freezing and bursting due to the ice expanding. Younger homes may have frost-proof faucets. Homes older than ten years most likely won’t, so you will have to turn off the valve inside your home. Keep in mind to drain your irrigation system to avoid freezing and leaks.
Now is the perfect time to check these items off your winter to-do list! Don’t wait for a major freeze to hit. Get them done now so you’re prepared for the snow and the cold. And if you have any questions about how to get your home in top shape for the winter, just give us a call.