We have compiled a list of things to check before the cold season moves in. While many things on the list may seem to be simple and potential DIY projects, we still recommend researching and hiring professional contractors when working on your home. Also, we have linked to some Amazon pages for reference but we are not an Amazon affiliate. We recommend, when possible, supporting the local economy by visiting a local retailer, such as Goodwyn Lumber for professional advice and purchasing options.
Examine nearby trees. The snow and ice during winter season can weigh down branches, causing them to break, with potential for damage to your home or vehicle. In particular, keep an eye out for evergreen trees, as their roots are typically more shallow and branch systems are prone to collecting snow. If you see a tree in question, call an expert to assess the situation.
Add storm doors and windows. Do you know that storm doors and windows can augment the energy efficiency of your home by as much as 45%? Furthermore, there can be federal tax credits to offset the cost of installation (research the tax benefits yourself, prior to installation). No time to install new windows? Check out inexpensive window insulation kits , that you can buy at your local hardware store.
Hire an HVAC professional to clean the heating ducts. You will need someone to inspect the furnace, and once they are at your house, you should consider having them inspect the heating ducts. Winter season can be very costly if your heated air is escaping before getting to your vents.
Seal air leaks in and around windows and door. The US Department of Energy confirms that drafts around windows and doors can waste up to 30% of your energy! Using a thermal leak detector, you can look for these drafts on your own. If you find one under your door, a rolled up bath towel can save you stress from that cool breeze creeping in. Otherwise if the leaks are on the windows, you can remedy this through a weather resistant caulk. You should also examine exterior walls for cold air seeping in around electrical or cable wires and at times plumbing pipes.
Check your outside water spigots. Hoses should be detached and depending on how yours is installed, you should maybe consider and outside water spigot cover. Also examine the exterior wall where your spigot is coming in for exposed pipes that can be insulated.
Check you’re A/C units. Of course, your air conditioner will probably take a rest during the winter season but this does not mean that you can ignore it. Taking some steps to protect your air conditioner unit can help extend its life. Consider calling a professional to drain the pipes and hoses, and vacuum out any water from the drain pan. Also if you own a widow unit, consider purchasing a cover.
Tightly wrap the pipes. By making the pipes more energy efficient, you can reduce your hassle of waiting too long before you can enjoy a hot water from the shower. Sooner or later, doing this will save both time and water. Wrap your exposed pipes with insulation to stop them from freezing once winter comes. You can easily grab pre-slit pipe foam from your favorite hardware store.
See if the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Winter season has a bad rap for the increase of carbon monoxide poisoning cases. After all, this is the time when people are typically running their boilers 24/7. To ensure the safety of your family, be sure to check the batteries in the carbon monoxide detectors and change them if needed.
Inspect the chimney. Get a professional to check the chimney. Many of the fires during winter season originate from the chimney.
Check the gutters. Before you start roasting your chestnuts, be sure to clean the gutters of your house. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams on the roof or in the gutter. This can not only cause additional weight and, in turn, damage to your gutters, but can also prevent future water from exiting your gutter system. To prevent this, keep the gutters clean.
Control the thermostat. It’s normal for us to keep the thermostat high to keep the temperature warm inside the home. The problem is, this practice always leads to expensive energy bills. The best solution would be to set the thermostat to 55 degrees during times when you are sleeping or away from your house. A programmable thermostat can help with that.
-Your friends at PowhatanLiving.com