It’s that time of the year again! Once the leaves start to turn color and drop, our thoughts begin to turn towards cozy nights in by the fire and holiday feasts.
Winter is on the way, and along with it comes lots of cold and icy weather. But before you grab those logs for the fire or crank up the heating, there are a few things you should do to “winterize” your home.
If you live in a cold or wet climate, it’s essential to prepare your home for winter. By taking care of these things early on, you will be able to:
- Save on heating bills
- Prevent damage to your home
- Keep your family and belongings safe.
So, what should you do to winterize your home?
Inspect the furnace and heating system
One of the most critical tasks is making sure your heating system is ready for the coming months. Over time, your system will become less efficient unless it is adequately maintained.
Depending on how old your system is, it may be a good idea to have a professional check it out. Keep in mind - you shouldn’t wait until the first snowfall to book your service, as many HVAC professionals are heavily booked during the lead-up to winter.
Protect your pipes
Another biggie is to ensure that your plumbing can make it through the cold. If you have any plumbing in an unheated crawlspace or basement, it’s good to check that they have sufficient insulation. If they don’t, you should wrap them with pipe insulation and add a heat cable under the insulation. This will help you avoid frozen or burst pipes.
Having water-leak and pipe-temperature sensors fitted is also a great idea. Water-leak sensors will alert you if the pipe pressure suddenly decreases, and the temperature sensors will let you know when your pipes are becoming too cold and are at risk of freezing.
You should make sure you know how to shut off the water just in case there is an issue. Emergency pressure release valves can also be installed to protect against pressure buildup.
Seal any cracks
If you can feel drafts around your house, check the weather strips around the doors - they may need replacing. Also, check around the windows and use caulk to seal any cracks.
Caulking holes and openings can prevent cold air from entering your house. Fixing any holes or cracks will have a good impact on your energy bills.
Check the roof and insulation
Give your roof a visual once-over to see if there are any loose or missing shingles that need fixing. Additionally, check to make sure you have proper insulation in your attic.
Issues with roofing can cause your energy bills to go up and allow moisture into your home. While moisture alone isn’t usually a problem, there are many issues that it causes.
A roof in good condition alone won’t help your electric and heating bills. You’ll also want to make sure your attic is insulated. The extra barrier between your conditioned air and the winter weather can make a noticeable difference.
Clean out your gutters
Leaves and other debris have a nasty habit of collecting in gutters and downspouts. This eventually restricts water flow and can lead to ice buildup. These are also known as ice dams, and they can get under your shingles. cause
These ice dams can aggregate over the season, resulting in wear and tear on your gutters. Sever water damage can be caused by fault gutters.
Blow out your sprinklers
If you have a sprinkler system, you will need to blow the water out of them before winter comes or hire a professional to do the job.
Just like your internal plumbing, leftover water in your sprinklers almost always cause damage. Water expands as it freezes, resulting in bursts, cracks, and broken sprinkler heads.
Check the chimney
If you have a fireplace, you should get your chimney inspected annually.
You’ll need to clean out creosote buildup in a wood-burning fireplace chimney; it can be a big fire hazard. It’s also important to look out for any animal nests that may block it or potential masonry problems.
Analyze your energy usage
Based on research, the average household spends over $2,000 each year on utilities. A good way to cut down on your energy bills is to get an energy audit.
Energy audits look at your house to see how energy efficient your home is. They can provide you will information on how to make your home more efficient with things like:
- Getting higher quality windows
- Fixing any cracks or holes
- Adding better insulation
Be fire safe
It may sound bizarre but residential fires are actually much more common in the winter. Be sure that your smoke detectors are working properly and carbon monoxide detectors while you're at it. Be sure to blow out candles and finish off fires before leaving the house or going to bed.
Bring in a professional
Did you know that it's recommended that you get a home inspection annually? This is because most major issues start out small, and are relatively cheap to repair early on.
Instead of doing all of the winterizing yourself, why not have a professional do it for you? On top of ensuring your home is in good condition, a professional inspector will check your roof, fire detectors, chimney, heating systems, and gutters for you. You can knock out 2 birds with one stone.
Interested in getting your home inspected? We’ve got you covered. With a nationwide network of thousands of home inspectors, you can book an inspection in minutes.
You can easily compare inspectors based on reviews, availability, and price. Get scheduled today with just a few clicks.