Preparing your Home for Winter
By HomeTeam Inspection Services-John Dunnington
Winter will be here before we know it! There are certain things you should do to prepare your home for the season. Follow these homeowner tips so you can enjoy a cozy, stress-free winter!
- Inspect your heating system. Make sure to replace your furnace’s dirty filters to prevent using unnecessary, costly energy and keep up with overall maintenance. Test the furnace’s thermostat for functionality.
- Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This is especially important during winter months when fires are more common. Be sure to replace batteries at the start of the season.
- Check your doors and windows for drafts. If drafts are present, proper weather stripping of these gaps are necessary.
- Protect your hot water heater with an insulation blanket, your exterior outlets with foam-sealing gaskets, and your unused fireplace with fiberglass insulation. More significant insulation areas such as the attic, walls and crawlspaces should be done well before winter.
- Look in your attic and make sure there aren’t any rodents living there—winter is their favorite time to hole up in homes. Close up any exterior vents as well.
- Switch your fans to rotate clockwise, allowing warm air to blow towards the floor to enhance energy efficiency.
- Caulk wood trim around exterior windows and doors. This will help insulate them and stop cold air and leaks from coming through.
- Check outside drains so water doesn’t seep into your home. Dips around the foundation create water buildup, causing intrusion. Make sure that downspouts are pointing away from the house.
- Protect pipes from freezing, then busting, by disconnecting your garden hose from the outside spigot and letting the water drain out of the line.
- Clean your gutters to ensure no leaves or debris are present. This prevents water from pooling up and overflowing, causing water to run down the exterior of your home, creating premature deterioration.
- Have the chimney swept professionally if you have a fireplace. Clear obstructions within the chimney, check the damper for proper opening/closing function, and look for cracked mortar joints between bricks.
- Seal masonry surfaces—asphalt driveways, patios, etc. to prevent expansion created by ice, which forms cracks. If cracks are present water intrusion could occur and cause damage.
- Clear debris off your roof and trim tree limbs so they aren’t in danger of falling on your house, or having icy branches lean on your windows and siding.
- Cover patio furniture or store it to prevent damage from snow, rain, wind, etc.
- Get shovels, snow blowers and salt ready for the first snow.
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