As the wind starts to blow fiercely, it’s time to think about winterizing the home. Some people have already prepared their homes at this point, but if you haven’t, here are a few things you might want to do. Don’t forget to prepare your animal sites and homes, too.
1. Clean those gutters: Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home’s gutters. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house. Hose out your gutters and look for leaks and misaligned pipes.
2. Block those leaks: One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out. To find the leaks, try walking around the inside of your home holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames, electrical outlets.
3. Insulate yourself: Another thing that does cost a little money is adding insulation to the existing insulation in the attic. You need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.
4. Check the furnace: First, turn your furnace on now to make sure it’s working. A strong, odd, short-lasting smell is natural when firing up the furnace in the autumn. But if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional. It’s a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually. Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly.
5. Get your ducts in a row: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated. Ducts aren’t always easy to see, but you can often find them exposed in the attic, the basement and crawlspaces. Repair places where pipes are pinched, which impedes flow of heated air to the house, and fix gaps with a metal-backed tape.
6. Upgrade windows: Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don’t have storm windows and your windows are leaky or drafty, replacement windows are pricey. Budget to replace them a few at a time
7. Don’t forget the chimney: A chimney should be inspected before use each year and wood stoves should be swept more than once a year. Make sure you have a protective cap for your chimney, with a screen. It keeps out foreign objects as well as rain that can mix with the ash and eat away at the fireplace’s walls. To keep out cold air, fireplace owners should keep their chimney’s damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use and wood stove owners should have glass doors on their stoves, and keep them closed when the stove isn’t in use.
8. Reverse that fan: Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don’t often think of. By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate. In the winter, the blades should be turning clockwise as you look up.
9. Wrap those pipes: A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained. Next, go looking for other pipes that aren’t insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces. Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation.
10. Finally, check those alarms: This is a great time to check the operation – and change the batteries – on your home’s smoke detectors. Test them with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the “test” button. Also, invest in a carbon-monoxide detector; every home should have at least one.
In conclusion, you can call a general contractor or handy person to come perform these tasks for you.
Article information was taken from realestate.msn.com.
For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to debbie@vallone realestate.net.