Winters in the Midwest can be brutal. With temperatures below zero, heavy snowfalls, and icy conditions, failing to winterize your home correctly can not only create higher heating costs but cause additional dangers as well. Below is our checklist to make sure your home, from proper window sealing to gutter cleaning, is prepared for the coming winter.
Why Should I Winterize My Home?
There are numerous reasons to winterize your home, varying from comfort to repair prevention. The following could happen if you fail to winterize your home:
● Higher heating bills
● Indoor flooding
● Roof collapse
● House fires
● Electricity loss
● Home insurance claims
● Carbon monoxide leaks
Improve Your Insulation
There are numerous places in your house where installing insulation will help keep you from feeling cold; causing you to stay warm and preventing unaffordable heating bills. One important place to focus on is your windows; especially if they are a single pane. Not only can windows let cold air in, but they can also leak the hot air out. Installing storm windows or sealing the leaks with weather-stripping or caulking may be a smart choice.
If you live in an older house, it is important to consider the other areas that let heat out. It is recommended to add insulation to the floor, walls, and basement, as well as annually check the attic as approximately 25% of heat is lost through the roof. Consider adding a layer of insulation to your attic to reduce this.
Inspect the Furnace
Your furnace is an important way to keep warm in an efficient manner. Be diligent in replacing the furnace filter; checking it every month and replacing it when necessary. Regular maintenance keeps your furnace running efficiently and longer while saving you money both short and long-term. Early autumn is the perfect time to inspect your furnace. For a reasonable price, you can hire an HVAC professional to inspect the system, identifying any issues.
Clear Out Your Gutters
Clearing out and cleaning your gutters may be at the back of your mind but doing so is very important. Choose a nice warm fall day to climb up and clear out debris such as leaves and twigs. If your gutters are rotting or leaking, you may need to replace them. If this is the case, consider adding K-Guard Gutters to your home to drain more water, limit leaf and debris build up, and corrosion. All Exterior’s K-Guard Leaf Free Seamless Gutter System is extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing.
If you do not clean your gutters, there can be severe consequences. A clogged gutter can cause ceilings, home siding, and even the house’s foundation to deteriorate.
Clean the Fireplace
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, inspect the chimney to see how much soot has accumulated. If it is dirty, get it professionally cleaned to prevent fires. It is also important to check to ensure the damper is working how it should, and that the screens and caps are in their proper positions.
Update Your Thermostat
If you have an older home, there is a chance the thermostat is outdated. An old thermostat can cause high electricity bills as the system is not as efficient as it should be. A programmable thermostat may be worth considering as it helps regulate the temperature at all hours of the day; even when you are not home. Regulated temperatures decrease utility bills, not only during winter but the hot days of summer as well.
Improve the Efficiency of Your Water Heater
A functioning water heater is especially valuable during the winter months. Unfortunately, sediment can gather at the floor of the heater which lessens its effectiveness. Over time it can even cause the water heater to stop working. Remove the particle buildup by flushing water through the drain valve.
Protect Your Plumbing
Having a pipe burst can lead to damaging effects. These include ruined flooring, carpeting, electricity, and furniture due to flooding. You can save thousands of dollars in repair and replacement by taking a couple of preventive steps. Check for leakage both inside and outside the home. Insulate any plumbing that is exposed, and if you have outdoor hoses, drain them and close their valves.
Along with taking the proper steps to winterize your home to prevent damage and reduce heating bills, it is essential to conduct a thorough safety inspection throughout your house. To properly inspect your home, it is vital to:
● Make sure any portable space heaters have automatic shut off
● Check carbon monoxide levels
● Ensure smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are working as they should
● Keep combustible items away from heat sources
● Do not leave space heaters unattended and do not use extension cords
● In case of a power outage and/or major storm, keep flashlights, blankets, non-perishable food and first-aid provisions inside and easily accessible
Winterize Your Home with All Exteriors
Many of the methods used to winterize your home are easy and cheap, if not free, to do. Any money you may have to spend is worth what you will save on repairs and utility bills. For a consultation to learn about our services and start improving your outdoor living space, contact All Exteriors today!