Well, hello there winter. These colder temps and falling snow can damage your home if you aren’t prepared. You might be tempted to curl up under a blanket and hibernate until spring, but before the snow falls, cross these five home projects off your list to help avoid any damage.
1) Check your heating system
In October you should give your heating system a test run. Turn the thermostat to heat mode and set it to 80°F. You should hear the furnace turn on and warm air should begin to blow within a few minutes. If the furnace is running fine, turn the thermostat back to its normal setting. If the furnace is not running properly, you might need to call a qualified service technician and it’s better to get help early before you truly need heat.
While you are checking the furnace, now is a good time to replace the air filter: Put in a new, clean air filter to ensure a free flow of air and a cleaner environment.
When you no longer are using your air conditioning, cover the condensing unit: Left unprotected, it can be harmed by wet leaves and debris that can cause rusting or other damage. Although these units are designed for outdoor use, covering them with a breathable waterproof cover can go a long way to extending the life and performance of the unit.
2) Clean your gutters
Once the leaves are pretty much off the trees, it’s time to clean those gutters. When gutters back up, they overflow, and when they overflow, that water runs down your home, speeding up the deterioration of your exterior. It can also lead to deterioration of your foundation or cause water infiltration in the basement. In addition the water can settle under your concrete porches or backflow on top of the roof, which creates all kinds of problems.
3) Inspect your chimney
Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected before you start building any cozy fire this winter. A chimney sweep company can make sure the fireplace is safe to use, and it can also identify any necessary maintenance problems. Also be sure to check the damper to check if it opens and closes fully.
4) Disconnect hoses and drain outdoor water
Your outside water faucet is completely unprotected from the elements. Before winter, shut off all exterior faucets. You should also drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
Be sure to disconnect any hoses from the faucet. It can freeze over the winter and split the water line, flooding the basement. You can also purchase outside faucet covers to help insulate and protect the spigot. Then be sure to leave the water shut off until you need to use the hose next spring.
5) Check doors and windows
Now is also a good time just to check your door seals. Make sure you’re not seeing daylight around your exterior doors or feel any cold air coming in. If so, you may need to replace weather stripping.
Preventative re-caulking of your windows and doors can help prevent water damage and heat loss. You should only caulk the outside molding perimeter of your windows and doors. Use exterior silicone caulk because it is less affected by extreme temperatures, so it won’t shrink and expand as the seasons change.
Following these five tips will ensure that you can relax in your home this winter, knowing that you are ready.