Nobody said that owning a home would be easy, but it sure is satisfying. One important annual homeowner chore is to prepare your home for cold weather. If you can be proactive about completing some simple upgrades and repairs, it will be easy to keep your home warm, your family healthy, and your energy costs low. Consider creating a cold weather checklist to ensure that your home is adequately prepared.
1. Cleaning Your Furnace
Dirt and sediment can accumulate in your heating system, causing your furnace to run less efficiently and making your energy bills rise. Before the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to clean your furnace and change out the air filter. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this project yourself, you can hire a professional for a pretty reasonable cost. This can help ensure that your heating system not only runs well, but that it is totally safe. Especially if your furnace hasn’t been turned on for several months, it should be cleaned and/or evaluated. As the winter rolls on, change your air filter about once every three months.
2. Seal Up Any Cracks
The main objective when preparing your home winter is this: determine how you can heat your home more effectively. Cracks, gaps, and drafts will sabotage this endeavor for you by letting gusts of freezing cold wind sneak into your home and chill your bones. Walk around the exterior of your home and look for gaps between your siding and window or doors frames. Seal exterior gaps with a silicone-based caulk. Then walk around inside your home with a candle and try to locate any drafts or openings. These openings can be sealed with caulk or spray gap-sealer. Finally, consider installing door sweeps–strips of plastic or rubber that attach to the bottom of your door with an aluminum strip–to prevent cold air from sneaking in under your doors.
3. Evaluate Your Windows
As temperatures drop, a lot of cold air can come in through your windows. If you have already sealed gaps, but you still feel cold near your windows, thick window coverings are your next line of defense. Consider upgrading your curtains, drapes, or blinds for thicker winter options. You’d be surprised how much cold thick drapes can keep out. Keep your curtains drawn, especially at night, to seal yourself off from the cold.
If the cracks and gaps around your windows seem like too much for you to repair, or if your windows are simply out-of-date, you may want to consider a replacement. Replacing your windows is not really a do-it-yourself endeavor, and you should consider consulting a professional. A window replacement can significantly reduce your energy costs and save you money for many years. Schedule a consultation to discuss all of your window installation Virginia Beach needs.
4. Clean Your Fireplace
There is nothing better in the winter months than a crackling fire at home, but if your fireplace or chimney isn’t clean, this could be a hazard. If you use a fireplace or woodstove at home, it is not recommended for you to light a fire this winter without cleaning your fireplace and chimney first. A blocked flue can lead to smoke inhalation or home fire. Make sure that your fireplace or woodstove is free of soot and ash, and that your chimney is clean and clear, especially if you have not used it for several months. You can make this a DIY project, or, if you are not comfortable completing this task on your own, you can easily hire a professional. Also, prior to lighting to your fireplace this winter, ensure that you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
5. Prepare the Area Outside Your Home
In order to fully winterize your home, you will need to consider your exterior property as well. For example, you should take a look at your gutters, and clean them out if they need it. If you have a pool, this needs to be drained and covered. Chimney vents should be checked for small animals. You may want to store your patio furniture, sporting equipment, and yard equipment–including lawnmowers, hoses, and sprinklers– inside. If you have already tackled the autumn leaves, rake and bag them up ASAP, and this will be much harder once freezing temps arrive.
By spending some time preparing your home for cold weather, you can be sure that your property will remain safe and warm as the dreaded winter months descend. Move down your checklist each fall, and feel confident that you are taking good care of your home.