Winter is fast approaching, and with the chilly weather comes a number of potential problems for your home. High energy bills, burst pipes, and critters seeking shelter are just a few of the problems homeowners face in the winter months. Check out this list to learn how to hibernate your house, and avoid problems, this winter.
Caulk and insulate top to bottom
Check your home for any unwanted cracks and crevices. These spots will let temperature controlled air escape, which will make your energy bills skyrocket. Prevent these air leaks by caulking all cracks and crevices, and putting up insulation in areas like your attic and exterior walls. These simple steps will keep the heat in and the cold outside where it belongs.
Give your furnace a tune up
You’ve probably neglected to check your furnace in the hot months of summer, so now is the time to make sure it’s running properly. If you have a gas powered furnace, make sure the pilot light is working and that the gas flow is unobstructed. If you have an electric furnace, make sure all the connections are working properly and no wires are frayed. In both cases, you’ll want to change your furnace filter and remove any flammable materials from the base of the furnace before starting it up for the year. Don’t wait until the first below freezing day to find out your furnace isn’t in working order. Get it checked ahead of time!
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This is perhaps one of the most important tasks to complete when you hibernate your house for winter. Protect you and your family from harm by testing your smoke detectors as well as your carbon monoxide detectors. The batteries in these essential devices may have died, or they may be broken. Because most people tend to close up their house tighter than a drum in the winter, this time of year poses the biggest risk of house fires and carbon monoxide buildup. If your detectors are more than 5-7 years old, it may be time to replace them altogether. Don’t put your family’s health in danger. Take this simple precaution now.
Get a smart thermostat
You can save a lot of energy by investing in a learning thermostat. A learning thermostat, or smart thermostat as they’re sometimes called, is designed to pick up on your daily habits as well as the natural environment, and control temperature accordingly. The energy savings are so great, you should recoup the money invested in the thermostat fairly quickly. The Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the best smart thermostats currently on the market, so check it out now before winter arrives.
Put the storm windows and doors back in
Chances are, you were eager to put in your window and door screens at the first sign of warm weather in the spring. Now that the weather is shifting back the other way, it’s time to put the storm windows and doors back in. This ensures that the cold air stays out and the warm air stays in, which will keep your energy bill reasonable all winter long.
Have your fireplace and chimney inspected
The fireplace and chimney become one of the biggest fire hazards in your home during the winter. It’s important to have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional. Take the inspector’s suggestions very seriously, and have suggested repairs taken care of as soon as possible. It’s imperative to have this is done prior to the first use of the season to reduce risk of a house fire.
Make roof repairs as needed
Most people ignore their roof until there’s a leak or other nuisance. So, before disaster strikes, hire a professional to take a look up there. Potential problems include missing or deteriorating shingles, faulty flashing, and rotting soffit and roof deck. Take care of these problems before winter arrives, or risk a total roof collapse once heavy snow and ice build up.
Winterize sprinkler systems and outside water sources
Burst pipes are one of the biggest winter headaches homeowners face. The freeze and thaw of water left in exterior pipes can cause the pipe material to weaken. Over time, it may become so weak that it begins to leak, or it bursts altogether. This can cause flooding and mold problems, among other issues. Before the first freeze of the season, be sure to winterize your sprinkler system and other outside water sources by bleeding the lines of any remaining water. If you’ve had problems with certain areas of water piping in the past, you may also want to consider installing heat tape around these areas to prevent freezing.
Mind your landscaping and outdoor accessories
Make sure to protect your landscaping from the elements to avoid having to replace everything in the spring. You can do this in a few simple steps. Put up wind blocking fences in areas that may get straight line winds. Cover young trees and other small perennials (plants that come back year after year instead of dying off after one growing season) with burlap to protect them from harsh winds in frostbite. Store away any movable outdoor fixtures, such as lawn chairs and garden decorations, in the garage or shed, and cover permanent fixtures, like fountains, with a tarp. Do this before bad weather arrives to protect your assets.
Install gutter protection
Clogged gutters become a much bigger problem in the winter, when heavy ice and snow build up on top of all of that debris. Clogged gutters, as well as severe ice dams, can cause your gutter system to pull away from the side of your house, leaving you vulnerable to major damages. So, before snow flies, stop clogged gutters in their tracks with LeafFilter. The one of a kind LeafFilter micro mesh is designed so that nothing but water can enter your gutters. So, when snow and ice hit, you can rest easy knowing it’s not building up on top of leaves and debris from the fall.
After a busy year, you’re probably ready to hibernate for winter. But, before you take that much deserved break, hibernate your house first. Follow these ten steps to make sure your house is in tip top shape.