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As the winter season arrives, you have to ensure your home is ready to withstand colder temperatures and everything that comes with it. A failure to do so could lead to increased home utility costs and potential maintenance issues for your home – not to mention discomfort.
Weather-Stripping Doors and Windows
Say goodbye to pesky drafts with a little weather-stripping – which might be the most inexpensive (yet high-ROI) upgrade you can invest in for your house this time of year.
Weather stripping is like putting on a cozy sweater for your house. It seals the gaps around doors and windows, keeping the warm air in and the cold air out.
Anyone can do this. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a single “handy bone” in your entire body. Grab some weather-stripping materials from the hardware store, follow the instructions, and seal away!
Insulate Those Pipes
Nobody wants frozen pipes. Insulating them with foam sleeves or wrapping can prevent them from turning into icicles. Not only that, but it can actually keep your water heater from working so hard when you turn on the faucet.
Pay extra attention to pipes in unheated areas like the garage, crawlspace, attic, or basement. And, while you’re at it, invest in an insulated blanket or wrap for your water heater if it’s located in an area where the temperatures get below 40 degrees on a consistent basis.
Seal Air Leaks
Time to hunt down those sneaky drafts! Check for gaps around electrical outlets, switch plates, and where pipes enter your home. Fill them with caulking or foam sealant to keep the cold air from sneaking in and stealing your warmth.
When it comes to electrical outlets on exterior walls, you can also buy foam inserts that go behind the plate. This little extra bit of insulation will keep cold drafts from seeping into your house.
Service the Heating System
Your heating system deserves some love, too. So, before the frosty weather hits, get your furnace or heating system checked by a professional. There are plenty of companies out there, but we recommend finding an around-the-clock heating and air service company that’s based in your local area and available for quick servicing.
For best results, don’t wait until the dead of winter hits to pay attention to your heating and air. Take care of your system throughout the year by changing the filters and ensuring everything is in tip-top shape. A well-maintained system will keep you warm and can save you money on heating bills. (Sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars per year.)
Safeguard Outdoor Spaces
Don’t forget about the great outdoors. Protect your outdoor faucets by disconnecting hoses and shutting off their water supply. And if you live in a region that gets really cold, you also have to be cognizant of ice dams.
Ice dams form when snow melts, runs down the roof, and refreezes on the edge. It’s a big problem when temperatures go below freezing, then warm up during the day, and then freeze again at night.
“In most homes, heat escapes through ceilings into the attic and warms the wood and shingles directly above it,” Family Handyman explains. “Although the outdoor temperature is below freezing, the snow melts over the warmed section of roof. When the meltwater runs down the roof, it hits the cold edge not warmed by the attic. There it freezes, creating a rim of ice.”
With ice dams, the trapped water has nowhere to go – so it just works its way back up under your shingles. Eventually, it causes leaks and water drips in your ceiling, soffits, and even walls. Long-term issues include sagging sheetrock, mold, and rot.
There are several ways you can prevent ice dams, including:
- Insulating your attic. Proper attic insulation helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home, reducing heat loss through the roof. This prevents snow from melting unevenly and forming ice dams.
- Ventilating your roof. Adequate roof ventilation allows heat to escape, preventing the buildup of warm air that melts snow. Check for proper attic ventilation systems like soffit and ridge vents to promote air circulation
- Sealing air leaks. As we discussed earlier, sealing air leaks is a must. This includes air leaks in the attic floor, such as where the chimney or plumbing vents meet.
Keep Your House in Tip-Top Shape
Winterizing your home isn’t just about staying warm – it’s about saving money too! By taking these simple steps, you can keep your home cozy while also boosting energy efficiency and cutting down on those pesky utility bills. Plus, you’ll avoid potential maintenance issues that might pop up during the frosty season. That’s what we like to call a win-win-win!