We love winter scenery, but we’d prefer to keep the cold outside. As we move into the chilly months, you’ll want to feel confident that your home will be your fortress against any storm that comes your way.
Just like you wouldn’t walk out into the snow without a jacket, you can’t just expect your house to be fine if you don’t perform a check-up. Before winter settles in, we recommend completing a few maintenance tasks to get your home ready.
Check Your Heating System
Before the temperatures drop, you want to ensure that your heating system is ready to keep your home warm throughout the season. If you have gas heating, you should schedule a cleaning if it’s been more than three years since your last cleanup. You should have your system cleaned every year if you have a boiler. For high-efficiency systems, you’ll want to check your PVC vent pipes for any possible obstructions.
At the same time, you should check your insulation to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. The last thing you want is to run your heating system nonstop and still have a drafty house because your insulation is insufficient.
Get Your Chimney Clean
If you have a functioning fireplace, you should have a professional inspect and clean your chimney. This will prevent a chimney blockage from filling your room with smoke. And while we’re discussing your fireplace, we also recommend checking the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms since you’ll be cozying up by the fireplace more often.
Tidy Up Your Gutters
If you have trees near your house, you’ll want to take a bit of time to clean out your gutters. Whether you hire a professional to get up on the ladder to reach the storm gutters or you DIY it, cleaning out all of your gutters can prevent any drainage issues during a winter storm. If the water can’t properly drain, it can lead to flooding around your home’s exterior and damage to your siding or foundation.
Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing
When water freezes inside your pipes, it can expand and break the line. As a short-term solution, if the temperature inside your house suddenly plummets, you can open the cabinets and run warm water constantly. But you don’t want to rely on your water heater 24/7.
To prevent the pipes from freezing, insulate the pipes near windows, doors, and unheated areas of the home. You can also keep your thermostat above 55 degrees at all times. Don’t forget to disconnect your garden hose for the season as well.
Reverse Your Fans
Pull out your ladder and reverse your ceiling fans. Many fans have a switch you can flip that will force your fans to spin clockwise. Since warm air rises, this adjustment assists your heating system because it helps move warm air down towards the floor. If you have high ceilings, reversing your fans can significantly help your home feel warmer while saving energy.
Check Every Nook and Cranny
In winter, it’s the little gaps that can lead to inefficiency. If you live in an older house, you’ll want to check your windows and doors for any cracks. If any holes are letting cold air in, you can use caulk or weatherstripping material to seal drafty windows and doors. And the best part is that you’ll save money on your energy bill!
Create (or Update) Your Emergency Kit
You never know what kind of storm will hit, you’ll want to create or update your emergency kit. Your kit should have everything you need in case of a power outage or lockdown, so pick up bottled water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies, a smart phone charger or power bank, extra chopped wood and fire starters (if you have a fireplace), and blankets.
Schedule Home Improvement Projects
Believe it or not, bringing in a contractor may be more affordable in the wintertime because of the high demand for home improvement professionals in warmer months. If you’ve been sitting on an interior home renovation project, reach out to your local handymen to see what their availability is and get a quote.