Burr, baby its cold outside! Temperatures are starting to drop and daylight savings time has officially ended, with shorter days and longer nights ahead of us. A signal that winter is soon on its way. Below are some tips on getting your home ready for the winter. Prepare now and spend those bitter cold and snowy winter days cozy inside instead of working on household repairs.
- Have your furnace professionally cleaned, and install a programmable thermostat (save money on heating costs). Keep temperatures lower when you are at work and at night when the family is sleeping. Reverse ceiling fan direction to circulate the warm air from the ceiling downward.
- Protecting your pipes from freezing is critical. The flooding from pipes when they thaw causes damage and can also lead to mold growth. If you have pipes in your basement, attic, or garage, protect them with insulation or heat tape. Water damage costs can add up quickly. Locate your water turn off valve in case there is an emergency.
- Seal windows and doors to keep drafts out. Insulated curtains also help keep warm air inside where it belongs. Older homes may need upgraded widows. If that is too expensive, you can purchase inexpensive window sealing kits. All it takes is a hairdryer to seal the plastic over your windows.
- Chimney and fireplace maintenance is essential. Have the chimney looked at by a professional. It’s important to have all creosote removed as well as any furry little creatures or birds who have made a home in your chimney. Glass fireplace enclosures keep cold air from entering the room when no fire is burning. Help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide from building up and finding its way into your home.
- Get your roof also professionally checked. While cleaning your eaves, inspect your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles. Ask them to look at the caulking around the chimney and air vents. Check for any exaggerated sag in the roof ridge line. Snow can cover up damaged areas and your homes interior is at risk of water entry.
- When gutters are full of leaves, they get clogged up and cause ice dams when snow starts to melt. This can cause a backup of water that lifts and seeps under roof shingles. Leaks contribute to rot and the growth of mold. Clogged gutters prevent the draining of rain and melting snow which could result in household leaks. Be sure your gutters are cleaned after the autumn leaf fall is complete.
- Trim tree branches and tall shrubs. In the event of an ice storm, falling branches can take down power lines, rip off shingles, and cause other damage. It’s no fun to lose power on a cold and blustery night.
- Turn off any faucets outside. Water left undrained can freeze, which can cause the pipes to burst. Disconnect your garden house and drain the remaining water.
- Make sure water is not pooling near the foundation when it rains. If necessary, dig trenches and install drain pipes to keep water away from the foundation. When pools of water freeze around the foundation, cracks and leaks can occur resulting in costly repairs. Repair cracked or broken masonry to be sure walkways are easy to clear and provide a safe path to porch or entry.
Follow these tips to help winter-proof your home and avoid future costly repairs. Make sure you have plenty of ice melt, salt, sand, antifreeze and snow shovels or look into buying a snow blower. It’s best to take care of this early in the season so you can enjoy a nice cozy winter. Now … go ahead and take that long winters nap!