Getting your Home Ready for Winter

Anyone who has lived in the Northern part of the United States for any length of time knows that now is the time to get all those pesky winter preparation tasks completed before the cold and damp of winter sets in.  We’ve created a list of the top 10 things you can do to prepare your home for winter.

Insulate– If the insulation in your attic is not what it should be you can help your home stay warmer in winter by adding insulation to your attic.  If you can see that the insulation is below the attic rafters, your attic could probably use more insulation.  For more information on adding insulation you can read this energystar document on how to best add insulation to your home.

Look for Air Leaks– Cold air getting into your home is not only one of the most uncomfortable parts of winter, but also one of the most expensive parts of winter.  While it’s sometimes hard to locate the source of a draft, taking a candle or an incense stick towards locations that you suspect of having issues and watching which way the flame or smoke moves can help you pin point the location.  That will allow you to identify which areas you need to caulk or create a better air barrier.

Clean Gutters– This is a good time to clean out your gutters one last time for the year.  Leaves clog the gutters and prevent the rain and snow melt from getting off your roof quickly enough.  Enough backed up water can cause long-term damage to your room.  If this is a job you particularly dislike you may want to consider getting a leaf guard system to make cleaning easier in the future.

Wrap pipes– If you have pipes in an unheated area of your home make sure that they are properly insulated.  No one wants to have to deal with either paying to pipes fixed or cleaning up after a pipe has burst.  You can purchase an inexpensive kit to wrap most pipes and outdoor faucet covers at your local hardware store.

Cover Windows– Double paned windows do great at sealing off a room from the cold air outside.  They are however not in everyone’s budget, and they don’t always come in the same style or size as the original windows in an older home.  If you have windows that leak cold air you can increase their efficiency by using an inexpensive window sealing kit that covers the window with a sealed piece of plastic.  If this isn’t a reasonable option, you can also consider adding additional heavier draperies to block out some of the draft when the curtins are closed.

Check Batteries-Now is the time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Winter is the most common time of year for fires, so make sure that your alarms are working.

Trim Branches– It’s important to trim dead and dying branches before the snow and ice start accumulating on them.  Cutting a branch off cleanly from a tree causes a lot less damage to it than the branch cracking off from the additional weight.  Falling branches can also potentially damage anything in between the branch and the ground.

Check Furnace-It’s important to get your furnace maintained before you start using it full time.  It’s also a great time to change furnace filters.

Reverse ceiling fans– At this time of your ceiling fan should be blowing the nice warm air found at your ceiling down closer to the ground.  To check if your ceiling fans are spinning the correct way stand underneath it and make sure that the blades are moving clockwise.  If they’re not, make sure to switch the direction they are moving using the switch on the fan itself.

Clean chimney and vents– Before you start burning wood in your fireplace make sure to have your chimney cleaned.  The accumulated Creosote can damage the mortar over time or even cause it to ignite and start a fire.  It’s also a good time of year to make sure that any dryer vents are not covered by overgrowth and are free of lint.

If you need someone to help you with any of these things give us a call or send us a message through this page.  We’re here to help!

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