While you are still enjoying warmer temperatures and longer days, winter is just around the corner. Preparing your home for winter may be one of the last things on your mind, but you should start getting ready now so you don’t get left out in the cold when winter settles in. After all, your home is one of the biggest investments in your life and you will want to make sure it can weather any storm that Mother Nature throws your way.
There are several things you can do now, before the mercury starts dropping, to make sure your home is ready for winter. Whether you are an expert at do-it-yourself home improvements or you’d rather leave home maintenance in the hands of a skilled professional, here are 15 tips you can take advantage of to get your home prepared for the changing seasons:
1. Before firing up your home’s heating system, make sure you have it inspected and serviced.
2. As part of the inspection procedure for your HVAC system, you should also have the duct work checked for accumulation of debris or damage and cracks that could lead to air loss.
3. If you have an irrigation or sprinkler system for your lawn, have the water flushed out of the pipelines to prevent freezing and cracking over the winter.
4. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and make sure you have adequate coverage for your property. You should also review your coverage options for things you may no longer need, which can reduce your insurance rates.
5. Check all windows and doors for gaps or crevices where air can escape. Have your windows and doors properly sealed with weather-stripping, caulk, or another product that will eliminate the potential for air loss.
6. When you start heating your home, switch the direction of your ceiling fans so it will circulate the warmer air from the ceiling toward the floor. This will improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce the wear and tear on your heating system.
7. Check your roof for damage and leaks and have them repaired before winter sets in. A damaged roof can allow ice to build up on your roof and cause further damage.
8. Unhook your garden hoses from exterior faucets, drain any water that has accumulated in them, and store them for the winter. After storing your hoses, shut off the water flow to your exterior faucets and insulate the pipes if possible.
9. Make sure the insulation in your attic is in good condition and provides thorough coverage. Deficient insulation aids heat loss and can increase your heating expenses.
10. Clean out your home’s gutters, make sure they are in good repair, and install mesh screens to prevent leaves and other debris from accumulating.
11. If your home has a fireplace and chimney, have the chimney inspected before you begin using the fireplace. Leaves, animals, and other things can accumulate in your chimney when it sits dormant for months, so you will want to make sure it is clear of any debris before starting a fire.
12. Put an insulation blanket on your water heater and add pipe insulation to any hot water pipes running from the water heater to the interior of your home. This will help keep the water hotter without requiring continuous operation by your water heater.
13. Check all the wall access points in your home to make sure they are sealed to prevent air leaks. These would include spaces where pipes pass through the walls, window frames, electrical outlets, and any other location where the wall is penetrated to allow plumbing or electrical connections to pass through.
14. If you have unused rooms in your home, seal off the ducts to those rooms to redirect heated air more efficiently throughout the house.
15. Change your curtains or drapes to lighter colored fabrics or sheers to allow sunlight to pass through, which will provide a few degrees of natural warmth to your home’s interior.
When you have applied these tips to your home to prepare it for winter, as well as taken other necessary steps to ensure that your house is ready for cold weather, you will be all set when the seasons change. Making sure your home is properly winterized will also help you create a more energy-efficient home and save on energy costs this winter.