Prepare your home for winter's frost
Many of us don’t think about winterizing our homes until temperatures start dipping below freezing. By then, it is already too late to engage in the process without getting a bit chilly. Be proactive this time around.
Follow these 8 tips to prepare your home for winter’s onslaught so that you are not caught off guard:
- Maintain your heater. The best way to maintain your furnace’s efficiency is to change your furnace filter every 6 months to 1 year. You also should have an HVAC specialist to occasionally check your furnace, give it a tune up, and make sure it is in top working order. If you have a wood fireplace, stock up on logs. Store them in a dry place, but far enough away from your house that they don’t attract termites. Also check your fireplace damper. Make sure it is closed when not in use to avoid drafts.
- Wrap your pipes. To increase your heater’s efficiency, check all the ducts in your heating system, and cover any leaks in the system with metal-backed tape (it reflects heat better than duct tape). While you’re at it, find any exposed pipes and wrap them in insulation. This will help keep them from freezing.
- Batten down the hatches. Windows are often the biggest heat-sinks in houses, as heat transfers fairly easily through a thin glass surface. If you have old-fashioned glass-pane windows, it could be costing you a fortune in heating bills. Having a contractor install energy-efficient storm windows and storm doors can greatly reduce your heat loss.
- Check the perimeter. Before the onset of winter, inspect the outside of your house and make sure you have all the little cracks sealed. A contractor can check your house for air leaks and pockets, which can be sealed with waterproof caulk for window seals and mortar for cracks in brick or concrete facades. It is important to detect cracks or holes around the foundation of your house, which can also invite in insects and mice as they seek shelter from the cold.
- Reinforce your walls. Insulation is crucial in keeping your house warm. Insulation experts can determine if you have adequate coverage throughout your home, including the attic. In most cases, 12 inches of insulation is recommended.
- Clean your gutters. Make sure your gutters are cleared of debris. If they are not properly cleared, winter precipitation can freeze, causing damage to your roof and other areas of your home.
- Prepare your lawn. Trim trees near your home so that limbs don’t break under the weight of snow and fall on your house. Planting evergreens near your house also can help shelter it from cold winds.
- Check alarms and detectors. Winter can be a dangerous time because many people keep their homes closed up tight while running furnaces or burning fires. Because of the potentially dangerous build-up of smoke and carbon monoxide, make sure you check your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers to ensure they are in working order.