As summer has become a distant memory and the beautiful trees of fall are turning, it is a great time to think about winterizing your home to prepare for the colder months ahead. Snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures can damage a home’s exterior, leading to costly repairs and adding hundreds of dollars to winter utility bills. Below, we are going to talk about winter preparation tips that you can implement to help save on energy and protect your home from costly damages keeping it in tip-top shape through winter.
You want to make sure to clean or replace your filters before turning on your furnace for the first time this year. Having a clogged air filter restricts the heated air flow from your furnace causing it to work harder and deliver less heat. Check the vents in your home to make sure there are no obstructions blocking them. Your furnace will work less when the heated air is able to circulate properly saving you money. If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them. Clear the area around your furnace and water heater insuring there are not any flammable materials nearby. You should also consider having a professional check your heating ducts because that is where 60% of your heated air escapes instead of warming your home. Don’t forget to check that your thermostat is working as it should as well.
Clean out your electric & wood burning fireplace
Having either an electric or wood burning fireplace is a nice comforting luxury in the cold months of winter, but they can be very dangerous if you do not properly clean and inspect them every year. Make sure to check your fire extinguishers and replace them if they are older than 10 years.
- Check the electrical components such as wires and plugs as well as the log, lines and valves to ensure they are in good working order
- Dust the interior and exterior to remove debris and clean the glass inside and out
- Inspect the vents with a flashlight making sure there is nothing blocking them from gas escaping
- Test your fireplace to make sure that it is working properly
Wood burning fireplaces:
- Check the interior and exterior of your chimney for any cracks that should be repaired
- Check the inside of the chimney with a mirror to make sure it is not blocked by leaves, nests or critters
- Use a chimney sweep to clean the soot from the chimney or hire a professional to do it if you would like
- Remove all of the layers of ash in the stove with a vacuum or shovel disposing of it
- Once you are sure everything is cleaned and free of obstructions start your fire and be vigilant with how it is burning for the first few days to avoid any serious problems or even a fire
Exterior Doors & Windows
You should do a walk-a-round the outside of your home inspecting your windows & doors for cracking and exposed entry points and seal them. The use of weather-stripping and caulk around doors and windows will prevent cold air from entering the home saving on your energy bills. You can also use shrink wrap around your windows if you do not plan on opening them for the winter. If you have older doors and windows you can install storm doors & windows which can increase your home’s energy efficiency by 40%.
Check smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
You should always have a smoke detector in every room in your home. You should also have carbon monoxide detectors in your home near your furnace and water heater as well as the areas where the carbon monoxide would travel first such as up your stairs. Take the time to go and check each detector and put new batteries in them. Experts recommend that you change them two times a year.
Winter water disasters
The thought of having water pouring into your home should be reason enough to know where your emergency shut off is in your home. Make sure to inspect your exposed plumbing pipes and insulate them with foam wraps. If you end up having a problem with freezing pipes turn on cold water at the faucet closest to the frozen pipe to relieve the pressure from the expanding ice which can keep the pipe from bursting until you call the professionals for service. Clean out your gutters so when snow melts they are not overflowing which could send the water rushing into your basement.
Reverse your ceiling fans
Your ceiling fans are there to help save on your energy bills. If you have a switch on your fan to change the direction of the blades make sure they are going in a clockwise direction in the winter which forces the warm air down to recirculate throughout your home.
Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at http://lindusconstruction.com. Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.