Winterizing Your Home
Photo Courtesy Leanne Ridley
The weather is changing, the temps are plunging and many are preparing for the white stuff to fall from the sky and land in their yard. This means it is time to put outdoor decorations away and make sure your home is properly prepared for the upcoming winter weather.
With winter coming soon, many are getting their homes ready for the bitter cold and that means your home may need some maintenance before the temperatures fall below freezing. That’s why the staff here at Toolbarn.com have come up with these 10 easy tips to make sure your home is ready for winter weather.
1.) Empty out Your Sprinkler System
Photo Courtesy of Wills Company
Before the temps get really cold, it’s vital to blow or drain the water from your sprinkler system. You don’t want to leave that water in over the winter otherwise it could freeze. If that water freezes, it will damage your pipes and will cause even more headaches when springtime comes around. Blow out or drain your sprinkler system. Trust us, it will save you time and trouble later on.
2.) Get Your Furnace Inspected
Photo Courtesy of Precise Florida Home Inspections
This seems like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people put this off at the last minute. It’s important to make sure your furnace is working before winter sets in. Nothing is worse than being in an apartment or house with no working heater! It’s important to make sure you have heating professional come out and make sure your furnace is in working order.
Also, make sure you stock up on filters and change them out periodically. A professional can make sure the burners are working and that you’ll be ready when the cold moves in.
3.) Check the Exterior Doors and Windows
Photo Courtesy of Search Colorado Home
Another way to help keep costs down while keeping yourself warm is to have your windows and doors inspected. Nothing is worse than having heat seep out from unknown cracks or through unsealed windows and doors. If you can, it’s wise to caulk or seal problem areas. If your windows have cracks in them, it’s best to get them replaced before a bad winter storm. The sooner you get this problem solved, the better.
4.) Get Weather/Seasonal Specific Equipment Ready
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With winter weather coming up soon, it’s also important to make sure seasonal equipment is in working order…or put away for the winter. If you have a snow blower, make sure it’s gassed up and ready to go. If you have a lawnmower, make sure you run it completely out of gas. (Unless you have anti-freeze in it.)
Also, make sure you have a shovel handy in case your snow blower breaks down. Finally, make sure you drain your garden hoses too or the ice could cause a split in your hose. It’s good to be prepared every season, but make sure you have the right equipment for the right season.
5.) Prevent Frozen Pipes or Plumbing Freezes
Photo Courtesy of Advanced Pro Plumbing
Same with broken sprinklers above, you want make sure your pipes don’t freeze in the winter time. Some pipes are left exposed to cold air and can freeze if they’re untreated. If they freeze, they can rupture and that would cause a serious problem.
If you can, try to isolate the pipes from cold air either using insulation foam or some other material to prevent cold air from reaching the pipes. Finally, if you’re leaving your house for a period of time…set your thermostat to 55 to have just enough heat to prevent your pipes from freezing over.
6.) Check Your Home’s Foundation
Photo Courtesy of Popular Mechanics
Before winter sets in, make sure you check your house’s foundation for cracks. If you have even the smallest opening, small animals and critters can come in and try to live out through the winter. When checking, rake up all debris and vegetation from the area.
Seal up the cracks or entry points. Remember, mice can squeeze their bodies to the size of a dime. Also, make sure basement windows or openings are secure so rodents can’t get inside.
7.) Run Fans In Reverse
Photo Courtesy of Forbes
Despite a common myth that many believe, it is possible to use ceiling fans in the winter. If fact, if there is a reverse setting, your ceiling fans can provide heat…ideally cutting down on energy costs. The reverse setting (not all ceiling fans have this) sets your fans to spin counter-clockwise which generates a small amount of heat. If you have more than one fan, a small amount can add up.
8.) Trim Tree Branches
Photo Courtesy of Davey
If you have broken twigs or tree limbs, best to cut or trim them now before they freeze. If you have an ice storm or snow storm, those branches will freeze and add weight. If the weight gets to heavy those branches could fall on your house, a car or power lines. Remember, it’s much easier to trim branches in October or November than it is in January or February.
9.) Clean Your Chimney
Photo Courtesy of Safe Side Chimney
If you’re going to use your chimney this winter, make sure you get your chimney cleaned properly. Not only does it help with your air quality, but a chimney sweep will make sure that no animals are staying inside. If your chimney isn’t cleaned properly, you could have a smoky house or worse…an unplanned barbecue.
10.) Seal Your Air Ducts
Photo Courtesy of Valpak
Finally, air ducts should be cleaned and taken care of as well. Critters and other vermin have been known to get inside a home’s ventilation system in the wintertime. That can cause problems and if you have an infestation, you need to call an exterminator as soon as possible.
Also, if you can…seal the cracks or screw your vents tightly to prevent pests.