10 Ways to Winterize Your Home
You have thrown away your jack-o’-lanterns, had your fill of candy and put your witch hat away for another year. This can only mean one thing: Fall is quickly drawing to a close, and winter is fast approaching. As the leaves start to change color and the temperature begins to drop, you’ll want to consider winterizing your home for colder months. Winterizing your home in the fall can ensure that you feel warm and comfortable once the time comes to turn on your heaters. Here are some steps you should take to prepare and winterize your house for the impending cold.
Schedule a furnace maintenance check & prepare your space heaters
Of course, you will want to do a thorough check of all your heating systems before the cold winds start to blow. Keeping your HVAC system in proper working condition means having a professional come to your home to inspect your furnace at least once every year. A professional can also service your system to reduce the risk of a carbon monoxide leak. Checking this off your list in the fall can help resolve any ongoing issues right before the time you will need your heater the most.
It’s also important to prepare your space heaters before you use them during the chilly months. First, thoroughly clean your heater by vacuuming the intake and exhaust grills. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow out any dust that has accumulated on the inside of your space heater. Then, inspect the heater’s cord and plug. If you find any damage, then discontinue use and replace it with a new heater.
Clean out your gutters
As leaves fall from the trees, they might build up in your rain gutters, along with branches, twigs and debris. If water cannot flow freely along the gutters, you might notice a buildup of ice dams, which can damage your roof. Apartment Therapy recommends watching the weather closely this autumn. Once it seems like the final leaves have floated away from their branches, do an overhaul of your gutter system, clearing them of all the foliage and other debris that collected during the fall. Cleaning your rain gutters isn’t a fun activity, but it’s essential to ensure you don’t need to replace your roof any time soon.
If you consider yourself handy, you can tackle this project by yourself – just always enlist someone to spot you from below as you climb up a ladder. If you are not confident in your abilities to do the job safely and efficiently, you may want to hire a professional.
Hire a chimney sweep
If you plan to have a cozy fire burning at any point this winter, you should schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning as soon as possible. Hire a certified professional to inspect and clean your chimney. Using a chimney that has a buildup of flammable chemicals, such as creosote, can result in a dangerous house fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association. When choosing an inspector, the source recommends picking a professional who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, as he has been trained in accordance with strict safety standards.
Add proper insulation
When you winterize your home your goal is to keep the cold air outside and the heat inside. Go around your home, inspecting doors, windows or gas lines for cracks that might allow your heat to escape. Attics, basements and garages are particularly common places for gaps and drafts.
Because even the smallest draft can run up your heating bills, it is important that you make sure your doors and windows are in good condition. Bob Vila suggests first inspecting the weatherstripping that runs along with door and window frames. If it is damaged or looks worn out, you may need to replace it. If the wood around your entrances appears rotten or has numerous cracks and holes, you should look into hiring a professional to do structural repairs. You should also exchange screen doors and windows for storm varieties. Applying weather strips to doors and windows can help keep the warm air inside, so you can run your heater on a lower setting.
Stock up on disposable furnace filters
Heating your home often involves more frequent use of your furnace. This means you will need to change your furnace filter more often in the cold winter months. You may need to replace your furnace filters every one to six months, depending on how often you use your heating system.
Clean your air vents
When you turn your heat on, the warm air travels into your home through air vents. Especially if you are prone to allergies, make sure you thoroughly clean these vents of dust, pollen, pet fur or dirt. Sweep the air duct’s interior and use a vacuum with a long hose that can reach deep inside the air vents. You will also want to clean the grilles, as they might also have a buildup of dust.
Bring your plants and outdoor furniture inside
Cold weather can cause some damage to patio furniture and grills. If your grill has a propane tank, disconnect the tank and store it outside with a grill cover. You should store furniture, lawn games and other exterior decorations in your garage or a well-insulated shed. Snow and ice might kill your favorite potted plants if they remain outside. Lowe’s suggested that you move your outside plants indoors before the temperature drops to 45 degrees.
Winterizing your plumbing pipes
Burst pipes are a disaster no homeowner wants to deal with. Insulating your pipes will lower your hot water costs and help prevent any bursts. Many hardware stores sell pipe foam, which you can cut and attach to your pipes with duct tape.
Install storm doors and windows
Adding these features can improve your home’s heating efficiency by 45 percent, according to Nationwide. Before purchasing storm doors and windows, make sure you measure your door and window frames so you are sure to get the right size.
Purchase winter equipment
If you have ever waited until the first snow forecast to buy a shovel or blower, you know that securing these flurry-clearing tools at the last minute can be next to impossible. Do not get stuck having to borrow items from neighbors this year – buy winter essentials now. Chances are, your local hardware stores have shelves filled with tools like shovels, ice scrapers and melting salt that will be gone in a matter of weeks. Make these purchases now to avoid stressing out later.
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