Before winter is in full bloom, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare for the colder temperatures.
Inside the Home
Check for Drafts Around Doors and Windows
Inspect all windows and doors for leaks. Add or replace worn weather stripping around doors and windows and caulk any gaps inside and outside. Don’t overlook the basement.
If the weatherstripping is getting worn and ineffective, it’s time to replace it. Rubber of vinyl weatherstripping can be used for older doors or windows that have large gaps.
Inspect the Windows
Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, as needed.
If you have an older home with single glass windows, you may want to add an insulating film which not only keeps the cold out but helps to keep the house cooler in the summer.
If you have portable air conditioners in your windows, either remove them for the winter or cover them with insulated liners, to prevent drafts.
Inspect Your HVAC System
Each autumn, remember to change any filters in your HVAC system. It’s also a good idea to have a reputable HVAC contractor clean and inspect your system. You should consider using a contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program.
Also, if you have an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a programmable one to save money on heating and cooling costs.
Protect Your Water Pipes
Pipes in areas like your basement, attic, crawl space and the garage can be vulnerable to the cold weather and freezing. A relatively easy and inexpensive method to avoid freezing pipes is to wrap them with a pre-molded foam rubber sleeve or fiberglass insulation.
Check Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
It’s natural that our homes are closed up tight in the winter but remember that your furnace and other heat sources can generate carbon monoxide as they heat your home. A carbon monoxide detector monitors levels in your home and will alert you if levels ever rise. Make sure to test your detector regularly and change the batteries. If your home is not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, seriously consider purchasing this potentially lifesaving item.
Most home fires occur during the winter, an important reason to check your smoke alarm. Do not forget to change batteries regularly too.
Clean Your Chimney and Fireplace
Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected before firing it up in the next couple of months. If you live in an older home with a chimney, have your chimney checked by a professional once a year. It’s very important to note that if there is too much build-up of carbon and other debris in the chimney it can become a fire hazard.
Outside the Home
Inspect Your Roof and Clean the Gutters
When the leaves have fallen from the trees, it’s your cue to clean the gutters. It’s important your eaves are free of any debris such as leaves, dirt and sticks. Clogged gutters prevent the draining of rain and melting snow and could result in household leaks. When your gutters back up, they overflow, and water runs down your home’s exterior walls, which hastens the deterioration of the exterior. But that’s not all. Your foundation will also be at risk, flooding in the basement can occur and water can settle under your porches and walkways, causing more problems.
Also, make sure your downspouts extend away from your house by at least four or five feet. This ensures that water runs away from your house and not towards it.
While cleaning your eaves, inspect your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles. If your roof needs attention, call a roofer to help you with the repairs or maintenance.
Check Your Drainage
Make sure the soil around your foundation hasn’t settled, creating areas for water to pool at your foundation. If you find a low spot, fill it in with some soil.
Turn Outside Faucets Off
Turn off and drain any exterior faucets. If you’re not using your sprinkler system during the winter, you should also drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads. Water left undrained can freeze, which can cause pipes to burst.
Disconnect your garden hoses and drain the remaining water. Store them inside.
Trim Your Bushes and Trees
Make sure any overgrown bushes or trees are trimmed back away from your house and electrical wires. This will help decrease your risk of property damage and power problems.
Sunshine Sunrooms are the experts in sunroom design, construction, and repair. But that’s not all! We are also master craftsmen for all your kitchen and bathroom renovation needs. Please visit our Projects page.
Call us today at (972) 243-5390 or contact us online to find out how we can help make your home renovation dreams come true.