Fall is on the way, and with it, falling temperatures that make you crave the indoor warmth of your home. Before the cold arrives and you get ready to bring the heat, it is important to protect your home from possible damage and fix any lingering problems. These six steps will go a long way towards keeping your home warm and energy-efficient over the coming winter.
1. Block Air Leaks
The best way to locate air leaks is to walk around inside your home on a windy day with a lit incense stick. Slowly pass the stick near common drafty places like windows, doors, and recessed lights. When you get near a leak, the altered smoke pattern will alert you. Plug any leaks with caulk or masonry sealer.
2. Check Your Gutters
After leaves have fallen, remove them and give your gutters a good rinse with the hose. This clears any debris that could prevent rain and melting snow from draining properly. Clogged gutters can cause ice dams that create cracks that allow water to come inside. Gutter should be cleaned before fall, as well as before winter to make sure they are clear and work like they are supposed to for the protection of yoru home.
One step you can take that will return its cost quickly is adding insulation to your attic. You will need at least 12 inches of insulation, regardless of your climate. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see your ceiling joists, you need more insulation because the joists measure about 10 inches.
4. Check Your Furnace
If you have a furnace, turn it on to be sure it is working before cold weather arrives. A strong, short-lived odor is normal when you first fire up the furnace in the Fall. Change the filters if needed and consider having the furnace cleaned and tuned. This is an important task to do before you need the heat, since some repairs can be more time-consuming.
5. Check Your Ducts
If you have central heating, you can lose as much as 60 percent of your heated air before it comes through the vents. Make sure your ducts are adequately insulated and connected. Get the help of a professional if you aren’t sure where to start.
6. Wrap Those Pipes
Prevent burst pipes during winter by insulating them. You can wrap them in fiberglass insulation or rubber sleeves. On freezing nights, make sure the water is shut off outside and the pipes are drained. If you have had frozen or corroded pipes in the past, be sure to get the help of an expert to fix the problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Cold weather can be hard on a home, but taking these six steps should save your home from some of the more common homeowners problems. Just a little of your time and effort spent now can prevent you from spending much more down the road.
Informational credit to Imagine Plumbing & Appliance Ltd.