After you are done enjoying the late warm-ups, you better be prepared when the cold winter season comes knocking. In other words, you should winterize your home before the onset of the chilling winter months. Winterizing your home is an inexpensive process that anyone can carry out or hire a professional. Weatherproofing your house will probably take you a weekend, and you can have good times with your family toasting and play indoor games.
Winterizing your home not only helps in making your house energy efficient and saving you those mind-blowing bills but also prevents your home from possible damage. I have put together a checklist on winterizing your home to help you in the process. You don’t have to break banks when things get out of control. The tips included in this article are simple and can be carried out by any DIYer.
Inspect And Clean Your Furnace
Don’t wait until that cold snap hits you so hard for you to start checking your furnace. You better take care of your furnace before it takes care of itself, which Am pretty sure you won’t like. If you lack the guts to do it yourself like me, then call an HVAC professional to carry out the checks to confirm full functionality and determine the system efficiency.
The furnace should be cleaned, checked for carbon monoxide to ensure safety, air filters replaced and leaks repaired. Do not be reluctant to repair the entire furnace if the HVAC professional recommends so; he could be saving you thousands of dollars shortly. If that is the case, make the most out of the federal tax credits for new furnaces.
If you qualify for you the offer, which will expire soon, be sure that 30% of the cost will be off your chest? You also stand a chance of benefiting from the annual check-ups that are offered monthly.
Check Your Chimney
The chimney is one of the leading causes of fire breaks during winter. Probably, it has been months since you roasted chestnuts in an open fire and you have no clue how damaged your chimney is. A qualified professional should inspect the chimney to ensure that is in good condition and that there are no combustibles.
Don’t be in a rush to use it before putting things right. Build-up deposits, animals, and other factors may render the chimney unsafe to use. Book a chimney sweep specialist before others does it. Most of them get busy during winter and getting one may be difficult.
Fix Your Attic
Failure to put your attic in order may render all the other winterizing activities useless. It is one of the weakest parts of a building and deserves greater attention.
Ensure that you insulate your attic hatch as failure to do so may reduce your R-value. Fix the knee walls as they can get damn cold during winter. In general, if your attic is not near anything good, you better use a professional to do the insulation and ensure uniformity.
Trim Or Cut Down Trees
I remember how painful it felt when a friend had just bought a luxurious SUV only for a tree branch to break its windscreen. He felt so frustrated and yet the whole mess could have been avoided. Don’t be found making the same mistake. If there is any tree that appears weak and could collapse on your roof or hit any nearby property, then trim or cut it completely. Tree accidents are common when the winter season gets to its worst. Do not be surprised that a branch can fall off and hit an object far away from the tree. Such incidences are common during winter storms when there is so much wind blowing debris and other objects.
You risk having a pool of water in your house if your gutters are cluttered. During these cold months of the year, ice is more likely to build up on your roof if there is a blockage in gutters. This risks damage to your roof that is possible when a large amount of ice accumulates on the roof.
Clearing the roof helps drain away water and enhances quick melting of ice. Consider installing leaf guards on your gutters to avoid growth of molds on your roof. Take your time to do it because the gutters can get much clogged and turn out to be a thorn in the flesh. You have to get prepared to take several rounds, especially if you plan to do it yourself.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
This is another simple trick that is not known to many homeowners. Reversing the ceiling fans reverses the direction of hot air. Instead of moving from the living space to the roof, push it downwards. This allows free circulation of warm air making the interior comfortable.
Use the handy switch to reverse the direction of the blades and enjoy the hot breeze. This trick, despite being one of the simplest, saves your energy bills by 5-10%.
Weatherproof Your Windows
Windows have a large surface area and could be one of the biggest culprits during the winter season. Condensation collects on your windows and can greatly contribute to making your winter stay uncomfortable. To reduce the dehumidifying effect, you could try out weather-stripping, but it makes more sense to replace them if they are past their prime.
If you decide to replace them, consider using indoor windows. By reducing air flow and preventing condensation, these energy star windows increase the energy efficiency by 45%. Even though one may part with a significant amount, storm windows are worth it.
Inspect Your House And Repair Leaks
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leaks can reduce energy efficiency by 5-30%. To avoid spending much on energy bills inspect your house and block all leaks. It is advisable to seek the services of a professional. Check all the doors, windows and pipe exits to determine any openings. You can make use of caulk to block the leaks.
Insulate Your Pipes And Water Heaters
Insulated pipes help raise the water temperature by 2 to 4 degrees. By insulating your pipes and water heaters, you can achieve better heating results on a lower setting. This could see you save more than 5% of your energy bills. Insulating pipes is more suitable when your pipes run through a basement which gets pretty cold during winter.
Winterize Your A/C
Your air conditioner is a worthwhile investment that deserves protection. To protect it from the effect of the storm, drain all the pipes and hoses connected to it. Freezing could cause severe damage and water traces may lead to rusting. If you happen to use a model that has water shut-offs, then go ahead and turn it off.
Inspect Heating Ducts
Studies have shown that ducts can account for up to 60% of energy wasted as they allow heated air to escape. Ducts are responsible for lower energy efficiency levels as the heated fails to reach its designated place. It is highly advisable to do regular checks after every 30 days.