Preparing your home for winter means more than warmth and comfort for your family. Like people, winter can take its toll on a house leading to costly repairs down the road. Protect your home from the harsh winter with these eight tips for maintaining your home this winter.
1. Check Your Heating System
Check your heating system before the cold hits. If it isn’t working optimally, now is the time to get it serviced. Waiting until the cold hits may mean you will be in queue for other desperate customers. Furnace filters should be changed at the beginning of the season and again every two to three months.
2. Insulate Your Attic and Crawlspace
Spending the extra money to add insulation to your attic and crawl space will keep heat in the house where it belongs. Insulation in the attic can also help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof. Check the Energy Star website for recommendations on how much insulation you need for the region where you live.
3. Check Indoor and Outdoor Water Pipes
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) says bursted pipes can cause as much as $5,000 in damage. Don’t let this happen when pipe insulation is as little as fifty cents per foot. Wrap pipes under sinks, in attics, crawl spaces, and in the basement. Don’t neglect to drain water from outdoor pips and sprinkler systems.
4. Seal Windows and Doors
Stay warmer and save money on your heating bill by installing weather stripping around doors and caulking around windows and any gaps around the house. If you have single-paned windows replacing them with more energy efficient ones will pay off in the long run. Adding storm windows is another option.
5. Service the Fireplace and Chimney
Keep your roaring fire welcoming and safe. Fireplaces and chimneys are a major source of home fires in winter. They should be checked each year and serviced if needed. An inspector should check bricks for leaking water and the cap to make sure it will keep out animals. The chimney should be checked for creosote buildup.
6. Check Roof and Gutters
Your roof should be checked before winter for loose or missing shingles. Only do this yourself if you know you have the ability to do so safely. Rain, melting ice, and snow will cause further damage if shingles are in poor condition. Be sure to clean gutters of leaves and debris. Clogged drains cause roof-damaging ice dams to form.
7. Clean and Store Lawn Equipment
Don’t forget that warm weather will come again. Clean and store your lawn and garden equipment so you’ll be ready. Empty gas tanks of fuel. Sitting gas can damage fuel lines.
8. Stock Up On Emergency Equipment
Winter weather often comes with power outages and other nasty problems. Be prepared to battle Mother Nature and stock up on cold weather essentials. Use the following list as a guide.
- Fire extinguisher
- Alternative heat source
- Sand and an ice mealtig agent
- Flashlight and batteries
- Battery-operated radio
Taking these steps to winterize your home will keep your family safer and warmer and your home in tip-top condition.