It’s the first day of fall today, and cold weather is right around the corner. It’s time to start thinking about what you can do to protect your home from potential damage due to frigid temperatures. Being proactive and prepping your home for the cold will help you avoid any unfortunate winter mishaps — not to mention, will help keep your heating bill in check!
Follow these eight steps to make sure your home is ready by the time winter arrives:
1. Service your Heating System
Getting your furnace regularly serviced will help you catch problems before they become more expensive problems. It will also prolong your furnace’s life and keep it running more efficiently. This will ensure come winter time, you aren’t hit with a massive heating bill. As a general rule, newer furnaces need servicing every couple of years. Older units should be checked every year in the fall.
2. Clean Out Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can block the drainage of melting snow and rain which can result in leaks, foundation damage and landscaping issues. As soon as the last leaves have fallen from surrounding trees, make sure you clean out your gutters. Remove everything from twigs and leaves to accumulated dirt. Check that the whole system is unclogged and free of leaks by running water through it.
3. Inspect Your Roof
While you are up there cleaning out your gutters, inspect your roof for any damaged, loose or missing shingles. This kind of damage can result in leaks come wintertime. If necessary, hire a contractor to repair or replace shingles, and ask them to check that the caulking around chimneys and air vents are in good condition as well.
4. Seal Your Windows
Sealing drafty windows will help you keep warm and toasty inside while also keeping your heating bill down. Check the weather-stripping around your windows and door frames and replace it where necessary. Also, check the caulking both inside and outside, and re-caulk where necessary to keep heat in and cold out!
5. Prep Your Fireplace
Before you use your fireplace, it’s important to make sure the chimney and vents are clean and free of any build-up. Grab a flashlight and inspect the inside of your fireplace for debris. From the outside, check for crumbling mortar or broken bricks. If necessary, have your chimney professional cleaned and repaired. Generally, we recommend getting a chimney serviced every other year.
6. Pad Exposed Pipes
Water damage resulting from frozen pipes is a common issue in the winter. You can avoid this kind of mishap by padding your pipes with tubular insulation sleeves. You can purchase these sleeves from a local hardware store. Pipe sleeves are easy to apply, and you can cut them to fit. Make sure you cover all exposed pipe parts, including bends and joins. Finish off the job by sealing any seams with duct tape. Not only will you prevent any water damage, but you will also conserve energy.
7. Drain Outdoor Water Faucets
In the wintertime, water left undrained will quickly freeze. Make sure you disconnect any outdoor hoses and drain leftover water. This will prevent your pipes from bursting due to that water freezing!
8. Trim Broken or Damaged Branches
A branch breaking and falling on your house or a power line during a storm can cause a lot of damage. Decrease your risk of property damage and power problems by trimming back any old or damaged branches before winter sets in.