As the feel of the air turns from a hot feeling on your skin to a cool crisp feel that you have been waiting for since the first taste of summer here in Boise, there is something that we all begin to think about.
Now is the time for us to begin that dreaded preparation that we have so unwillingly wanted to face. The following steps can help you get your house prepared for the winter without putting a big hole in your budget. But one thing about it is these are important steps that if we neglect it could cost us enormously in the future.
We will begin to look at inexpensive ways to winterize your home from the outside of our home to the inside.
10 Tips On How To Winterize Your Home
Water System Insulation
Water pipes in crawl spaces and attics may benefit from a layer of insulation added to them. Pipe insulation is readily available and easy to apply. Hot and cold pipes alike can benefit from the insulation. Hot water storage tanks usually hold water at 140 degrees and can also benefit from insulation. Specially made tank blankets are made that wrap tightly around them. The additional insulation makes them more energy efficient and is a great way to insulate your home for winter.
Check all of your exterior pipes, faucets, and sprinkler systems before the first freeze. There are several different types of caps from Styrofoam to plastic that you can attach to your outside faucets to help insulate them. Make sure that you check for all exposed pipes around your home. Be sure to insulate each one.
Be sure to hire someone to come do a ‘sprinkler blow-out’ for your underground sprinklers. You need to do this before the first frost. They will blow compressed air into the lines to help prevent any costly repairs due to freezing in the lines.
Prepare The Doors
Drafty doors let in large amounts of freezing cold air. New door seals can be applied to door frames to slow down the drafts. Installations are as easy as taking a strip off the adhesion and pressing it onto the door’s frame. Entry doors have an adjustable sill. These skills can be raised by turning the adjusting screws with a screwdriver until the door properly seals.
Check all your exterior doors for any leaks around the door or door frame. Replace all your weather stripping if need be. It’s not a bad idea to add a little extra for that extra protection anyway. Check your door frames and caulk any holes that may be around your frame. If you want to spend the extra money a storm door is a great investment. This door helps to provide an extra bit more protection against the elements. It also is a nice change when you can open your regular door and the storm door helps to let in a little more light on those cold winter days.
Homes with many drafty windows may benefit from plastic window insulator kits. This isn’t necessarily the case if you live in the Treasure Valley as the colder temperatures do not get as cold as some claimants. Yet, there is a type of shrink-wrap that slows air transfer and may be useful.
Plastic window insulator kits are easily installed with the included adhesive and the use of a hair dryer. Caulking window seams from the exterior will reduce drafts and reduces water infiltration.
Check all of your exterior windows for the same type of air leaks. You will want to replace any stripping that has been lost. Also, you may consider extra blinds or plastic film to help insulate if you do not have insulated windows. Also, check all your screens to see if they need to be repaired or replaced. This could help out a lot when you want to raise these windows to let fresh air into the house on some of the more comfortable days.
Check The Roof
Check your roofs to make sure they are free from debris in places like valleys and where different roofs meet. If your roof is clean of debris the snow will melt and travel off more freely.
Also if you have a shingle roof check for any loose shingles that may become brittle during the winter and break off during some of those winy cold days we have during winter.
Check all of your exterior sidings to see if you have any loose siding that needs to be fastened better. Also, check to see if you may have any holes on the exterior where pipes or electrical may enter your home. Fill these voids with spray foam that you can purchase at your home supply store.
Check all of your gutters that you may have. During the fall time of the year, you may have these gutters filled up with leaves and debris. Clean these gutters so that any rain or snow will have a clear path to drain.
Next, we need to move inside and check the most important piece of equipment that we have for our comfort in the winter. We need to check our furnace for any problems that we may have. A routine maintenance check will be great here. We will need to replace all of the filters.
If you have a gas furnace it’s a good idea to check all your connections for leaks. It is also important that we check our unit’s vents to make sure they have the proper draft to help move out the carbon monoxide that your unit may produce. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector to help you stay on top of this threat.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your pest control is up to date. Little varmints and critters begin to look for a warm place to go during the winter and they always seem to find a way in.
Flashlights and Candles
Check all your flashlights and candles to make sure you have lighting in case of any winter outages. Have several candles and fresh batteries for flashlights on hand in case of a winter storm.
As the house is readied for winter, smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide alarms should be checked for functionality. Winter is when furnaces kick on, fires are burned in fireplaces, and windows are shut tight. The homes’ alarm systems need to be working. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, alarm batteries should be replaced every year. Test all alarms by pressing their ‘test’ button and listening for their alarm.
Last but certainly not least, we need to keep an emergency kit at home. A supply of water, canned goods, and any medicine that we may need to have on hand. We need to prepare for the possibility of being snowed in for a few days and not being able to leave home. This particular step could be lifesaving!
Take the time to go over these steps to help you have a safe and comfortable winter. A home represents the largest investment in most people’s lives. Drafty windows, not enough insulation in exterior walls, and poorly designed homes can add to otherwise hefty heating bills. There are cost-effective measures homeowners can take to winterize their homes.