The season chill has finally set in, and with it comes the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure his home is ready for the winter months. Here are some easy and cost-effective measures any homeowner can take to safeguard his home for whatever winter throws its way.
1. Reverse your ceiling fan rotation.
Many homeowners do not realize that ceiling fans have switches that reverse the air direction from summer-time counter-clockwise (which pulls cooler air up from the floor) to wintertime clockwise (which pulls warm air down from the ceiling.) Reversing your fan rotation can make your home feel warmer in the winter while reducing your heating bill.
2. Prep the plumbing
Frozen pipes are an unfortunate, but common occurrence. To avoid this, prep your plumbing by draining the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses and arrange to have any in-ground sprinkler pipes blown out. Roll up your garden hoses and store them indoors and identify any pipes in your home that may be prone to freeze so you can keep an eye on them during them winter.
Ensure everyone in the home knows how to turn the water off at the source to minizine leaking if a pipe does burst.
3. Inspect your chimney before using
If you only use your fireplace to burn a yule log at Christmastime, have a chimney sweep come insect the structure to make sure it is safe to use. The chimney sweep will check to see if the chimney is clean, which can help prevent fires and carbon monoxide from sneaking into your home.
4. Prevent built up icicles
A buildup of icicles, also known as ice dams, is pretty but can cause meltwater to backflow into your home, resulting in significant damage.
If you find large amounts of icicles clinging to your gutters, check your attic for the culprit: inadequate insulation or air leaks.
5. Inspect the roof
Closely inspect your roof for any loose shingles or signs of damage that could cause a leak during a winter storm or from melting snow.
6. Caulk around the windows and doors
If the gap between the edge of your windows, doors and siding is more than the width of a nickel, you may need to apply exterior caulk for further insulation. Silicone caulk works best for exterior use because it is impervious to elements and it won’t shrink.
7. Clean the gutters
If your gutter is filled with debris, it can cause water to back up against the house, causing damage to the roofing, siding and trim. It can also cause leaks and ice dams. Periodically remove any detritus from your gutters to prevent this from happening.
8. Stow your mower
If you leave your mower outside during the winter, any fuel left inside will decompose and varnish the carburetor. This can make it difficult for you to start your mower in the spring or can even damage it beyond repair. Store your mower in your garbage, basement, or an outdoor shed to prevent this.
9. Check your heating system
Have a technician inspect your furnace and heat pump to make sure the system is clean and in good repair and that it can achieve its maximum efficiency set by the manufacturer.
10. Restock the essentials
It is never wise to wait for the first bad winter storm to stock up on the essentials- salt, shovels, ice melt, etc. Make a list of everything you may need and have it ready to go BEFORE it snows.
11. Make draft “snakes”
Draft “snakes” or door draft stoppers are a great way to keep the cold air from sneaking in under your door. Fill a long tube sock or stocking with sand or dried beans and tuck it just inside the threshold of the door. The sock will block out any drafts coming in. If you’re feeling extra crafty you can decorate the draft “snakes” with festive colors, tinsel, or even make a cute character.
Be careful not to trip over the draft stoppers when you’re leaving your house!