There is no denying it—winter is here. It’s the time of year that snow, ice, wind and rain all can wreak havoc on your home, and your heating bill. Not only does winterizing keep the cold temperatures out and warmth in, but it can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding potential repairs and replacements to the outside of your home. Here are some tips to make your home winter-ready, so you can stay warm, safe and dry all season long.
- Clean Out the Gutters. Gutters are the first line of defense against water seeping into your house by directing rainwater away from the perimeter of your home. To clean your gutters yourself, you will need a ladder, gloves and a tool like a gardening trowel to remove debris. If your gutters are hard to reach or difficult to clean, consider hiring an expert to handle the job.
- Prepare the Pipes. When water freezes in your pipes, it expands and can burst and cause flooding and severe, and expensive, water damage. Pipe insulation is affordable and easy to buy at most hardware or home improvement stores. Check crawlspaces, attics, garages and basements for any exposed pipes in unheated areas that need to be insulated. Using just a pair of scissors and cut your pipe insulation to size and wrap around pipes for a snug fit.
- Seal Leaks and Add Weather Stripping. The best way to prevent leaks is to find them before any damage is done. Start by examining your home for loose siding or shingles, gaps around windows or doors, or cracks in your foundation. These are the places where water might intrude or ice could form and create problems. If needed, caulk cracks or install weather stripping and if you have repairs beyond you capabilities, ask a professional for help.
- Trim the Trees. Walk through your yard and examine your trees, looking for limbs that could hit power lines or fall off on your roof or car during a winter snow storm. Trim any weak branches that look as if they could cause problems before damage is done.
- Check the Chimney and Hearth. Nothing is cozier than a crackling fire in the fireplace all winter long. Before you build you first fire, make sure your chimney is clean and no critters have settled in. You want to be sure the chimney is drawing smoke out safely. And always practice good fire safety by using a fireproof screen and keeping any flammable items a safe distance away. It’s a good idea to have a chimney sweep inspect your chimney.
- Inspect the Furnace. Check on is the state of your furnace. Call a master certified plumber to look for potential dangers such as carbon monoxide leaks. Make sure that your system is properly inspected and cleaned and has fresh filters before the cold season begins.
- Switch Ceiling Fans to Clockwise. In the summer, ceiling fans help to keep you cooler by creating a downward breeze while turning counter-clockwise. During the colder months, set a ceiling fan to run clockwise to help draw room air up towards the ceiling and force the warm air out and down and down the walls.
- Monitor the Air. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace old batteries. If you cook with a gas stove, be sure to use the fan on your stove hood vented to the outside, and adjust your burners so you get a nice blue flame; a yellow-tipped flame produces more emissions. Guard against mold by using your bathroom fan when showering and making sure any moisture-producing appliance (like your clothes dryer) is exhausted outside.
It’s important to take care of your home—after all it may be the biggest single investment you’ll ever make. And if your home needs repairs or renovations beyond these simple maintenance tips, talk to a PrimeLending Home Loan Expert. We have a full range of renovation home loan products that can help you make your home more comfortable all year long.