Doesn’t feel like it right now, but winter will be here sooner than we think.
And winter can be brutal on a home and your pocketbook. It’s important to protect your home from potential damage and address heat and energy leaks. Where to start?
The home inspection report from your home sale may have a few ideas, particular to your home. But generally speaking, these eight ‘winter chores’ should get your started, help you stay warm, safe and maybe saving a few bucks in energy costs this winter.
Is your heating system ready? Have a professional check your HVAC system to ensure it’s in good working order before you turn it on. A typical service check includes cleaning and replacing the air filter, checking the furnace components (fans, pulleys), and all electrical connections.
If you haven’t already, replace the batteries in both the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Those are the appliances that will tell you if your heating system is overworking.
Update The Thermostat:
Many households shell out 50% of their energy budget on heating that no one ever uses.
Installing a programmable thermostat that can be operated via a SmartPhone means never having to worry about whether the heat is on when nobody is at home. Conversely, keep your family warm and cozy by remotely turning the heat on, half hour before the family arrives home.
An investment in a good thermostat could save you between 1 and 3 percent on your heating bills.
Reverse The Ceiling Fans:
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction when the heat is on. The fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling.
It might make enough of a difference to be able to turn down the thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.
Seal The Drafts:
Drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use and they can trip up your thermostat.
- Caulk Around Windows & Doors
If the gaps between the siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a quarter, it’s time to reapply exterior caulk. Silicone won’t shrink and tends to hold out best against the elements.
- Insulate Larger Windows
Large sliding door/windows might require insulation, which is easy to do with a window insulation kits (available at hardware stores). Properly installed window plastic is almost invisible and not only stops the draft but the extra air space between the window and the plastic film boosts a home’s ability to hold the heat in.
- Door Drafts
Remember the draft snake? A bath towel under a draft door will do, or using scrapes of fabric, neckties, or socks filled with kitty litter does the trick for drafty doors.
Insulate The Pipes:
A burst pipe is no fun! Tubular pipe insulation sleeves (available from most hardware stores) will cover exposed pipes in unheated areas (basement, attic or even a small crawl space). It’s as simple as: Cut to fit, wrap the entire pipe including joints and elbows fasten with duct tape.
Clean-out The Gutters:
Clogged gutters can prevent rain and melting snow from draining and result in home leaks or damage to the landscape and foundation. Gutters need to be clear of everything, from twigs to leaves to caked-on dirt. Also check that the downpipes (by running water through them) to make sure they are clear of any obstruction.
‘Fall-Clean’ The Garage:
Push all your summer equipment from the lawn-mower, hedge trimmer, rakes and summer toys?to the back and make all of any winter necessities?shovels, snow blowers, skis and sleds – and the salt. ?accessible.
Prep For A Winter Storm:
It’s happened. A blizzard knocks out power for several days. So be prepared with a fully-equipped emergency kit that includes: batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches and a lighter; warm clothes and blankets; a battery-powered radio; non-perishable food items and water; a first-aid kit and specialty products like medicine, baby formula and pet food (if necessary). We could be without power for several days!
Have a question about how to winterize your home, give me a call. If my real estate team doesn’t have the answer, we sure know who to refer you to!