Sweater weather is here and we need to prepare our homes for the coming cold. Getting ready for the onslaught of winter can help you to maintain your home and can even prevent damage and save you money.
Mind the Gap
Caulking the gaps in your home is an easy way to increase comfort and reduce your winter heating bill. Pay special attention to areas around electrical and plumbing outlets, doors and windows and along the foundation. Closing gaps in your building envelope will also keep out critters looking for a warm place to spend the winter.
Check that your doors and windows are properly sealed. Inspect rubber seals around doors to ensure they aren’t cracked or broken. Clean the weep holes at the bottom of your window with a piece of wire or a can of compressed air. This will allow water to drain away from the windows effectively.
This is crucial to allow ice and snow to drain when they melt. If your gutters are clogged with fall leaves, the water will collect and freeze at night—forming ice dams that push up under the shingles. Trim an old plastic spatula to fit in your gutter so you can scrape out dirt and debris.
While you’re up there, check the roof for cracked or broken shingles and check that flashing is secure. You don’t want to have to do roof repairs in the dead of winter.
Check your Plumbing
Inspect all pipes that lead outside to ensure that they are well insulated. A burst pipe can cause costly damage. Check your sump pump is in good working order and able to deal with spring snow melt.
Replace your outdoor faucets with frost-proof ones to prevent leaks and drips. Drain your garden hoses and mechanical sprinklers.
It’s Furnace Time
Now is the perfect time for your annual furnace maintenance. Call a pro or follow these steps to do it yourself. Change your HVAC filter and ensure the vents haven’t become obscured during the summer months. Check your ductwork for gaps and holes and have these repaired.
Now’s a Good Time To…
Have your chimney cleaned and close your flue to see that it seals properly.
Check that your handrails aren’t loose and that there are no loose boards on decks and steps.
Test for Radon. As you close up your home for the winter, be sure that your indoor air quality is good.
Drain your water heater to remove silt that has settled at the bottom and could be reducing efficiency.
Is your workshop heated? If not, bring your latex paint and adhesives inside as these products can be ruined by freezing.
Clean dryer vents of lint to prevent fires in dryer seasons.