Winter’s on its way and there’s nothing we can do but be prepared. The colder months bring wind, snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures, so fall is the perfect season to winterize your home before it gets too cold. From protecting your pipes from freezing, to checking your windows and doors for air leaks, use this winter checklist to make sure your home is ready for winter this year!
1. Test Your Heating System
Check your heating system by the end of October at the latest to make sure it’s running smoothly. Turn your thermostat to heat mode and raise the temperature at least 10 degrees higher than it currently is. Make sure you can hear the heating equipment turn on (it should start within a few minutes).
Test the temperature of the room with a thermometer after about 15 minutes. If the temperatures aren’t reading the same, it could be time for a new thermostat. Also, make sure to clear any obstacles away from your heating vents so the warm air can circulate easily through your house.
2. Check Your Windows and Doors
Check your windows and doors thoroughly for leaks and cracks. If cold air starts leaking in, it can significantly increase your heating bills, not to mention cause drafts on a cold winter day. On a windy fall day, close your windows to check for air leaks. They typically occur at the edges, sides, or where one unit meets another. If you notice a leak in your windows or doors, weather-strip them as soon as possible. You may even want to consider investing in a storm door and storm windows for extra weather protection!
3. Protect Your Pipes From Freezing
Burst pipes can be one of the most costly damages to your home, so make sure to do your due diligence to make sure your pipes are protected this winter. If you have exposed piping in uninsulated places such as your attic, at minimum you should be insulating them with a foam insulation. Caulk up crack or holes in your walls to keep cold air away from pipes, and when you’re out of the house, don’t turn the heat down too much. Your pipes need the heat to prevent freezing.
4. Trim the Trees Around Your House
Having big trees on your property is a beautiful thing, but it can become dangerous come wintertime. Long tree branches hanging near your house, roof, or gutters can break from heavy snow and ice and cause major damage to your home. Trim tree branches short enough so that if they broke, they wouldn’t come anywhere near your house.
5. Evaluate Your Roof
The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with in the cold of winter is ice dams on the roof. When heat escapes your home, it can melt and refreeze ice and snow on your roof, causing ice dams, which let water and ice continually build on your roof. Eventually, your roof may weaken and your home could be at risk of further damage. To prevent ice dams, insulate and ventilate your attic to prevent too much heat transfer onto the roof. Also, make sure to check pipes and vents, chimney systems and light fixtures in the attic that may not be insulated.
The best way to prevent your home from damage this winter is being prepared before the snowy season hits. Use this winter checklist to stay on top of your game!