Whipping winds… freezing temperatures … snowstorms … winter is coming and so is the blustery weather than can signal trouble. From pelting rains to ice storms, winter can take a toll on your home. Left unchecked, some of these problems can be costly. Avoid the unnecessary expense (and headaches) of dealing with wintertime emergencies by planning ahead. Winterize your home right now — before cold weather hits. But where to begin? Here are some basic steps to winterizing your home and ensuring a season without costly problems:
Give Your Furnace a Checkup
No one wants to deal with a broken furnace in the middle of a winter storm. Avoid unnecessary furnace problems by giving yours a good maintenance check now. You can bring in an expert to do a good once over on your furnace, or you can do it yourself. Just be sure that all of your circuits are checked; your filter is cleaned; and your ducts are cleaned out. An annual furnace checkup can save you hundreds in repairs and a few cold nights by ensuring that your furnace is in great working order before it is needed.
Do a Chimney Check
If you use a wood burning stove or fireplace during those cold winter nights, be sure to have the chimney cleaned and checked for problems. Broken flues can be a real hassle and you certainly don’t want to risk a fire with a clogged chimney.
Check for Drafts
A drafty house will not only feel cold, but will cost you a fortune in heating bills. Fall is the perfect time to check windows and doors for drafts. Replace worn seals around doors and windows, fix broken glass panes and install storm windows or winterizing plastic to older homes. This will help keep warm air in and cold air out all winter long. Newer windows can also benefit from installing thicker winter shades and hanging heavier drapes and curtains in draftier rooms during colder months.
Check for Moisture
Moisture can be a real sign of trouble – it means water is getting into your foundation and walls. This can be caused by clogged or broken gutters, rood problems and foundation cracks. Take a good look around your basement and attic for signs of moisture and mold. If any is found, check the following:
- Roof: a leaky roof can result is rotted fascia and interior walls. Inspect your roof before winter sets in to ensure that no big problems occur during the next big storm.
- Gutters: clogged or broken gutters can crack your foundation and let moisture into your basement. Clogged gutters can also allow ice to build up during winter’s worse and that can ruin a good roof by spring! Clean your gutters well after the leaves have fallen off of the trees but before winter sets in. Be sure to check for leaks, sags and places where seams have loosened, or the gutter itself is pulling away from the house. In most cases, gutter problems can be fixed, but if left to decay, they may need to be replaced.
Winterizing your home takes only a few hours, but is important to ensure that your home stays warm, dry and safe this winter season. A few quick checks now can save you hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars in emergency repairs and let you enjoy the season without worry and expense.