Once the leaves start dropping from the trees, the sun sets earlier, and there is a chill in the air, it is time to prepare your home for the winter that is on its way. Here are 5 tips for getting ready for the cold months ahead.
Clean the Gutters and Roof Valleys
As the leaves fall, your gutters and roof valleys can fill up with all kinds of debris. If this isn’t removed periodically, sediment will build up and water will not flow freely. In winter, that water can freeze and turn to ice, causing leaks in eaves and possibly ice dams on the roof surfaces. For safety reasons, it is best to hire an insured professional to climb up a ladder and clear out the dirt, pine needles, twigs, and leaves.
Sweep the Chimney
Fireplaces, chimneys, and flues need to be cleaned to prevent fires from the build-up of creosote. This is especially true for wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. A professional chimney sweep can remove the creosote and ash on the walls of the fireplace and inside the chimneys and flue pipes. Not only will this prevent fires, but it will also increase the draw to make sure backdrafts don’t happen that allow smoke to enter the home.
Service HVAC Equipment
It is highly recommended that you have your furnace, boiler, or air handler serviced once a year. A licensed HVAC contractor will clean the units, replace the filters, and check that the thermostats are working properly. This improves energy efficiency and lessens the possibility of a dangerous carbon monoxide leak.
Seal Windows and Doors
Take a good look around the exterior and interior of the home to locate gaps at the perimeters of windows, doors, and wall penetrations. You can easily apply a bead of caulk to compromised areas. You can also place adhesive weatherstripping at the bottoms of doors and windows. This is an inexpensive DIY project that will prevent unwanted drafts of cold air. It also keeps small pests out.
Drain and Turn Off Hose Bibbs
It is really important to disconnect hoses and open up the outdoor bibbs to drain the water. Then, turn off the valves that supply this water. This will prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. While you are at it, be sure to drain the lawn sprinkler system and the hot tub.
Winter can be cruel to both our indoor environments and our utility bill costs. Preparing your home with these 5 steps can give you a more comfortable and safer winter.