The Old Man Winter is here. So you’ve your winter attire and a stockpile of your favorite hot drinks and soups? Good for you! With much of the country preparing for winters, now it’s time to get your home ready before chilling risks become your worst nightmares. Once the temperatures fall, your energy bill will rise, as you use more of it to keep a comfortable and warm indoor climate.
Getting your home ready for winter is crucial for controlling your energy bills and mitigating any potential hazards. As a homeowner, it’s critical to winterize your home not only to prevent damage but also to maintain your home’s value over the long run. Prepare for winter now, and you’ll be happy you did when cold weather sets in. So, here are the best getting home ready for winter tips:
Insulate the Pipes
Insulate your pipes to protect them from bursting. You’ll have to do this through non-heated areas like the attic. When the water in pipes freezes, the ice expands, blocking the pipes completely. This increases the water pressure in the pipes. If too much pressure build ups, they’ll burst, and you might end up with a bad case of flooding. When winter sets in, letting your faucets drip relieve pressure on your home’s water system and help to winterize your home.
Tips on How to Winterize Your Pipes
- Drain, disconnect and store garden hoses.
- Use pipe sleeves to insulate the unprotected pipes.
- Shut off your main water valves for an emergency.
- Shut off the water line if you plan to vacate your home.
- Seal any foundation vents, openings, or cracks in walls where these pipes are.
- If your exterior faucets have cut-off valves, drain and close them. If not, use foam facet covers to insulate them.
Maintain the Water Heater
Use an insulation blanket to wrap your water heater if it isn’t insulated where it stands. If you plan to vacate your home or water might not be running down the pipes, do this: Turn off the water valves to cut off the water supply.
- Empty your water heater.
- Drain your water pipes running all faucets until no water comes out.
- Use an anti-freeze solution to fill all fixtures.
Check Windows and Doors
Cracks in walls or leaky windows let out the warm air your HVAC is working so hard to supply. Blocking all air leaks is a practical way to get home ready for winter tips that save your electricity. Most drafts are underneath windows and doors. To fix this, you can use a draft snake for doors.
- Get weather-resistant caulks for your windows.
- Weather strip crawl areas that leak cold air into your house.
- Seek window installation service for storm windows for better getting home ready for winter preparation.
- New windows are pricey, but they increase your home’s value, which isn’t bad if you ever move. You can also replace old windows with an energy-efficient option and call it a day. Either way, it’ll help save on your energy bill
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
You can contact your local power company and find out if they can do an energy-saving assessment. It’s free, and they identify changes to ensure your home is energy-efficient and save you money. Ensure you insulate your home well otherwise, you’re fighting a downhill battle.
Also, reversing ceiling fans is an alternative for saving your energy bills. Yes, it’s a thing! Most ceiling fans have small switches on them. You only have to push the switch to make sure it rotates clockwise. Weirdly, fans keep us cool, but they can rotate clockwise to push warm air down and throughout your home. Pretty cool!
Inspect Your HVAC System
Ensure your HVAC (ventilation, air-conditioning, and heating) system is running securely and effectively. You can contact a professional to do it for you, or if you’re confident that you’ll do good work, just DIY. These getting home ready for winter tips ensure you are warm and your home isn’t wasting energy.
- Check heating ducts.
- Inspect gas piping to the furnace.
- Clean fan and motor.
- Examine blower operation.
- Clean and replace air filters.
- Check carbon monoxide levels.
Store Outdoor Equipment
Even your trimmers and mowers need attention too. Do you plan to leave them until the spring? Then, read your owner manuals to ensure you observe the proper maintenance tips before putting them away for hibernation. However, if your trimmers, mowers, etc., have been used enough during summer and may be broken down, don’t bother to store them. They’ll just take up space, collect dust, and give you a hard time when spring sets in.
Most lawnmowers are recyclable since they’re made of steel, aluminum alloy, and plastic. Check out if your local recycling centers accept your specific type of lawnmowers. If not, contact a professional to help you dispose of gardening tools, leaf blower, old lawnmower, and many more.
Clean the Gutters
Cleaning your gutters is crucial for getting home ready for winter. A good rule of thumb is to clean your gutters immediately after leaves fall in the autumn. To prevent clogging, inspect and clean up the gutters off the leaves and other debris. Cleaned gutters allow melting snows to drain appropriately.
To avoid the tedious gutter cleaning process, consider hiring a gutter service or using gutter guards. They are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or stainless steel, hence keeping out leaves, roof sand grit, pine needles, and other debris from your gutters. It would be best to brush off to ensure the guards work effectively occasionally, but it isn’t as strenuous as a routine cleaning.
Inspect Your Roof
Air flows in one direction and that is up. Running your heater full blast makes air escape on un-insulated roofs. Most mobile roofs are poorly insulated because of the empty space between the ceiling and roof. Seamed metal roofs are also vulnerable. Hire a professional to install additional insulation on your roof.
Also, consider seeking a roofing service if your roof is slippery. You can also wait until you can DIY without any safety hazards. A roof inspection is vital because any leaks in your home cause water to accumulate and freeze in your base structure, attic, and window sills. When this water seeps into those crannies and nocks, it freezes and expands, causing severe damage to your home’s structure.
Turn Up the Heat a Bit
Turn the heat up slightly when you leave your home. It might be -15 Celsius one day and drop to -30 the following day. The added heat helps to prevent your pipes from bursting while you’re away. Even if you aren’t leaving, a little more heat helps you warm and cozy at home, assuming there are no issues with your furnaces or leaks from outside.
Contact your insurance firm on what the actual policy is because not all policies cover what you might think. Being away from your house without someone checking on your place can void your insurance claim if frozen pipes or when winter–weather-related issues happen.
Regularly Get Rid of Ice Dams
Ice dams will occur besides following all getting ready home for winter tips. Ice dams prevent water from draining correctly. The water spreads to underneath the shingles as it backs up. The result? Leakage in your walls, ceiling, and insulation. You can use a roof rake to easily prevent ice dams or hire a snowplow to help clear away the snow.
Give your Lawn and Trees some ‘Tender Love Care’
Fall is the right time for getting home ready for winter. Take prompt action if you identify any dead branches or a tree with a shaky foot. Blustering winds come down in a winter storm and on your house! Rather than raking leaves, mulch them into your lawns: studies show that dead leaves feed your lawn during the winter season and are a perfect soil solution. Nobody likes spending hours and hours raking leaves.
House the Hose
>When winterizing your home, detach your hose at the end of the summer season. Ice takes approximately 10% of the space by the same amount of water. The hose fails to stretch to accommodate water if the water in the hose freezes. This results in broken joints
- Broken valves
- Burst pipes
- Ensure you remove your hose as winter sets in, even if you have a frost-free fixture. If you ignore this getting home ready for winter tip, your pipes will freeze and burst!
Clean Your Eaves Trough
Get on your roof with your preferred tool (a broom, spatula, or your hand with a set of gloves) and remove clutter from your eavestroughs. If possible, use a hose and spray any remaining debris, assuming that the outside weather isn’t cold enough to cause ice issues along your walkways.
Cleaning your eavestrough prevents ice blockages which cause water runoff and snow drain towards your house foundation. Pools of water in such parts freeze and cause foundational problems that are costly to fix.
Point Drain Pipes Away
Ensure your gutter drains water properly and carries water away from the house foundation. Plumbers warn about the water collected near your house’s foundation. It causes severe problems that are super expensive to fix and is a threat to your home’s structural integrity. Water expands if it freezes. Therefore, if it seeps into the concrete cribbing of your house through a crack and freezes, it might make that crack bigger. So, avoid such damages by winterizing your home now!
Cold floors are uncomfortable and costly to keep warm. The most straightforward alternative is to lay down area rugs for extra warmth. However, you might have to skirt or professionally insulate your floor to make your floor comfortable. If you aren’t sure how to make this possible, watch some tutorials videos available online.
Buy Sand and De-icer
Stock up on some bag of ice melt and sand to spread on your walkway. This way, you might not get sued by your family and friends – just kidding! However, some jurisdictions have laws that require you to remove ice and snow from your sidewalks and walkaways along your home. De-icer helps melt tough ices that are otherwise hard to remove. Another way to winterize your home is to purchase a proper ice scraper. This takes us to our last getting home ready for winter tip.
Check Your Winter Tools
Here are the top five tools you for getting home ready for winter to keep your family comfortable:
- Deicing cable: Installing deicing cables prevent ice dams from forming on your eaves trough. Even a small ice dam sends water underneath shingles, causing damages if left unchecked.
- Heat cable and insulation for plumbing: Water pipes in a leaky basement are vulnerable to freezing when winter sets in. Insulating your pipe isn’t enough. Contact a heating repair service to help you install heated cables to help prevent your pipes from freezing, bursting causing super expensive damage in minutes.
- Insulated hose bib covers: Besides having frost-free sillcocks, it’s advisable to use insulated covers on your hose bibs. They are cheap and take seconds to install.
- Removable caulk: Chances are, you leave your windows shut during the winter. To seal your window correctly, apply a removable caulk where the sashes meet the frame and don’t mess up with your window blinds.
- Door sweeps: Small gaps under the door create an uncomfortable draft. Door sweeps put the squeeze on that breeze. For doors heading to seasonal use or unheated rooms, door sweeps help winterize your home better.
The getting home ready for winter tips are over. What other best practices would you like to add to the list to prepare for the cold season? Be sure to follow all the above steps before winter sets in and contact home insulation services to keep you warm and make your winter cozy. Have a great winter!