October 27, 2020
Snow and ice can do some real damage to a home. The reality is that if you put it off for too long, you might end up with some costly repairs to make. Here are five things you should do to prepare your house for the winter ahead.
Insulate Your Windows
Winter drafts can and will drive up your energy bills. Plus, you want to keep your home warm and cozy when it’s frigid outside. According to the U.S. Energy Department, you can lower your energy bill cost by 20% by having properly insulated windows. If your windows aren’t properly insulated and you’re not sure what to do about it, here are some cheap and easy solutions:
- V-Seal Weather Stripping – This plastic stripping goes along the sides of the sashes and will allow your windows to open and close without any issues. It also works great on doors!
- Rope Caulk – This sticky stuff can be molded to fill any gaps and is removed easily at the end of the season.
- Shrink Film – Apply this clear plastic sheeting with double-sided tape and watch it shrink and seal as you heat it with a hair dryer. Use rubbing alcohol to remove it without stripping any paint.
A surprise early snow storm can wreak havoc on your trees, or worse, your roof. The last thing you want is a big, heavy branch crashing down on top of your home. Trim away any branches that hang over your roof to prevent this and also to keep water from running down the branches onto your roof.
If you have one, do a visual inspection inside and out. During the outdoor inspection, check for the following:
- Chimney cap is present and in good condition
- No tree limbs above or near the chimney
- Chimney mortar and bricks are in good condition
- Chimney rises at least two feet above the roof
- The flue liner is visible above the chimney crown
- Chimney is not leaning
For the indoor inspection, check that:
- The flue damper opens, closes, and seals properly
- There are no combustible materials or foreign objects in the flue
- There are no cracked or missing bricks or mortar in or around the fireplace
Check On Your Roof
You don’t want to find out about a leaky roof when the first snow hits. A good roof inspection will reveal any potential issues. Check for the following:
- Cracked caulking or rust spots
- Buckling, curling, broken, or missing shingles
- Cracked or worn rubber boots around vent pipes
- Moss and lichen could be a sign of decay underneath
Prevent Frozen Pipes
A frozen pipe could be extremely costly if it’s left alone. Take precautions to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. A frozen hose can lead to a frozen pipe, so make sure to disconnect and store your hose before the first snow. If you don’t have frost-proof spigots, close the interior shut-off valve to the faucet, drain the faucet, and install a faucet insulator.
Exposed pipes in the basement are rarely at risk of freezing because they are in a heated portion of the home. Pipes in an unheated area, like an attic, garage, or crawl space, have a higher risk of freezing. Inexpensive foam pipe insulation is usually enough for moderately cold climates. If pipes in your exterior walls have frozen in the past, it’s probably a sign of inadequate insulation. Also, don’t forget to turn off your sprinkler system and blow the sprinkler valves out!
Now you can head into the holiday season knowing that your home is prepared for the cold weather.
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