As the air turns brisk and the leaves begin to change, homeowners everywhere start battening down for winter. From torrential rains and blistering winds to freezing temperatures and heavy snow, winter puts our homes through a lot. Being prepared for the change in weather will ensure your house keeps you warm and safe all winter long. Not only that, but tackling these maintenance tasks in the fall will make your cleanup job a lot easier when spring comes along.
Optimize Your Home Heating Efficiency
Energy bills can skyrocket during the winter months. Fortunately, HomeAdvisor recommends many things you can do to keep your home warm while saving on heating costs. Start by weather-stripping your doors and windows to keep the cold air out. Switch the rotation of your ceiling fan to pull cool air up and push warm air down into the room. Also, consider upgrading your thermostat to a smart, programmable option. These give you much more control and regulate heat more efficiently than outdated thermostats.
Swap Out the AC for a Humidifier
Protect your air conditioner from the harsh winter elements so it will be ready to keep you cool again next summer. Winterizing the unit shouldn’t take too long. It’s a good idea to cover your air conditioner unit during the fall to prevent leaves and other debris from corroding the metal or causing damage. You may not want to cover it completely, however, as this can trap moisture inside. If you have a whole-home humidifier, get it ready for winter. A humidifier can protect the wood in your home from dry winter air while helping your house retain heat a little better.
Winterize Pipes and Flush Hot Water Tank
Make sure you winterize your pipes to prevent expensive damage from freezing. Pipes located in unheated areas of the home, like the garage, should be wrapped with insulating material. If you’re going to be away from your home during the winter, Direct Energy recommends leaving your thermostat on at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit so you can avoid coming home to frozen pipes. Ensuring your water heater is running optimally will also help protect your pipes from the cold. Take the time to flush your water heater to remove sediment. Sediment deposits in the tank may interfere with heating and increase your energy usage.
Clean Up Your Exterior and Landscape
Fall and winter will really make a mess of your home’s exterior, so give everything a good cleaning before winter hits. Clean out your gutters and window weep holes, cover your patio furniture, and store your garden tools out of the elements. You may also want to wash your siding, patios, driveways, and paths to prevent mold and mildew from taking hold.
Finally, consider trimming any tree limbs that could fall in heavy winds and damage your property. The Davey Tree Expert Company recommends trimming any branches that are hanging over your roof to reduce the number of leaves that fall on your house. Also, trim branches that are touching your home to prevent damage from scraping.
Inspect for Potential Problems
Before you decide that your maintenance tasks are done for the winter, take a day to inspect your home. Inspect your roof, looking for broken or missing shingles that may lead to a leak. If you have a fireplace, get your chimney inspected and cleaned. Test your smoke detector and ensure that your carbon monoxide detector is working. Finally, test your sump pump to ensure it’s working properly, which will help keep your basement dry during the wet months.
Getting your home ready for winter may take some time, but it’s a chore that’s well worth it. The right preparations will help you avoid all kinds of disasters, from a leaky roof to a burst pipe. Spend the winter enjoying cozy time inside with your family instead of scrambling to fix preventable problems out in the cold.
Dennis Kane – Winterize Guys