Winter weather can cause expensive damage to your home. Frozen pipes, cracked gutters, leaky roofs and clogged furnace filters are just a few of the problems that can arise in the winter months. The good news: by planning ahead and following nine basic steps to winterize, you can avoid these and other problems, not to mention save some money on heating costs.
All you have to remember are your ABCs:
Add insulation to your attic:
Heat travels up, so keeping your attic properly insulated is an easy way to keep more heat from escaping your home. You should have a minimum one foot of insulation, no matter how cold it gets.
Bundle up your pipes:
You can pick up pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation from your local hardware store and wrap up any pipes that aren’t already. Also, drain your garden hoses, and shut off your garden spigots.
Clean out your chimney:
Make sure to call your local chimney sweep well before the season begins, as they get booked up quickly. Also, consider investing in a chimney cap to keep obstructions from entering your chimney in the first place.
Detect and prevent drafts:
Seal up drafts with weather stripping, and replace any cracked windows, since a great deal of heat is lost through them. Investing in door sweeps is also an inexpensive way to save money on your heating bill.
Enhance air duct performance:
What good is central heating if the warm air is not properly circulated? Check your air ducts for pinches, as air can escape there, making your heating system less efficient. And, for air flow and cleaner air, it’s always a good idea to have ducts cleaned.
Free up your gutters:
Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and freeze. Once the leaves have stopped falling, and before winter really sets in, clean them out. While you’re up there, make sure there is no debris on the roof.
Gear up your furnace:
Make sure your furnace is in proper working order. An annual tune-up and cleaning is advised. At the very least, make sure to change furnace filters frequently throughout the winter.
Head for your alarms:
As you begin to use your fireplace and furnace more, it’s critical that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Give them a quick test!
Every homeowner should winterize for safety and comfort. However, owners leaving their homes vacant for long periods of time, due to vacationing or selling their home, should especially winterize, as problems may not be detected as quickly.