TIPS FOR WINTERIZING YOUR HOME
Winter is the perfect time to cozy up and enjoy the comforts of your home. Many homeowners, however, don’t take steps to prepare their property for the cold months. This mistake could ultimately lead to increased utility bills and costly, unexpected repairs. Here are some useful tips for properly winterizing your home.
Attics and Insulation
When temperatures drop, you want your home to stay warm and welcoming. One of the most effective ways to ensure this is by having a properly insulated attic space, which prevents both heat from escaping and cold air from getting in. Unless your attic is a finished living or storage space, you may be surprised to learn that your roof is designed to allow air to flow into and out of the attic space. Ventilation helps maximize the life expectancy of your roof by preventing hot air and moisture from becoming trapped in the attic space, while insulation on the attic floor creates a thermal barrier for interior comfort.
Attics lacking proper insulation and ventilation are susceptible to ice dams, which occur when heat trapped in the attic melts snow and ice on the roof, causing the melt to settle and refreeze near eaves and gutters. This process can push apart components of your roofing system, leading to leaks and water intrusion that can enter walls and other areas of your home.
Don’t let the cold weather get the best of your roofing system. Homeowners should be proactive by conducting a roof inspection in the fall, which can spot weaknesses well before the change of seasons. Also, if your yard is heavily wooded, it is important to check the health of all trees. You should hire a professional to trim away any branches or limbs that may break off and cause damage to your roof. Additionally, before winter weather sets in, be sure to clear gutters and downspouts of all leaves and debris so that they will be ready for rain, snow, and ice.
Drafty windows could be robbing your home of heat and your wallet of hard-earned cash. Research shows that many homes loose anywhere between 10-25 percent of their heat through windows. Installing storm doors and windows is the best way to keep the cold out of your home, but replacing these items can be very expensive. If you are not ready to invest in this solution there are other options. You can start by sealing your windows with caulk from the outside to reduce the amount of air flow seeping into your home. To add additional protection, install weather-stripping and a window insulation kit. These inexpensive kits are easy to use and can be secured to windows using little more than tape and/or a hair dryer.
Insulating cold water pipes is very important if you live in the north. Pipe insulation, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores, will help keep your pipes from freezing, bursting, and potentially causing thousands of dollars of water damage.
Installing a smart water monitor on your pipes will allow you to monitor your water use for unusual spikes that can signal a leaky pipe. Certain monitors can even shut off your water in the case of a catastrophic leak.
Also, if your hot water pipes are extremely hot to the touch, they are likely losing heat. You can fix this issue by fitting them with pipe insulation sleeves, which will save you money by keeping unwanted heat from escaping the pipe.
We demand a lot from our heating and cooling systems, therefore it is important to have HVAC systems checked by a professional every year. The best time to have this done is before the arrival of winter weather. An HVAC technician can perform safety checks on your system to ensure it is working in an efficient manner. Additionally, don’t forget to change air filters regularly to keep your system running in peak condition.
Ceiling fans are not just for cooling. Most models have a switch that will reverse the rotation of the blades. When blades are going in a clockwise direction, they will help to circulate heat that has risen to the ceiling to the rest of the room.
In places with extremely cold winters, exterior faucets are more likely to freeze. The best time to address this problem is before temperatures begin to drop. By installing a frost-free sillcock, you can prevent busted pipes due to cold weather, as the valve in these types of faucets is positioned inside the wall of your home.
Fireplaces become our go-to destination to unwind during the cold winter months. However, when they are not sealed with airtight tempered glass doors, chimneys can cause your home to lose more heat than a fireplace can emit. The U.S. Department of Energy says many chimneys lose 1,000 cubic feet of warm air every minute. This causes your HVAC system to work harder to keep your house a comfortable temperature, ultimately costing you more money in the long-run. For those that do not use their fireplaces, it’s a good idea to have an airtight chimney cap installed. This will keep cozy warm air in and unwanted critters out.