Winter has taken it’s time to arrive this year in the Northeast corner of the world. Usually, by now we have snow on the ground or have seen a few flakes in the air. With the first winter storm expected this week, maybe we can finally say, “winter has arrived.”
With the arrival of the colder weather means some necessary steps that should be taken to prepare you home. You don’t want to be caught off guard, unprepared for what old man winter will eventually bestow upon us.
What You Need To Know To Prepare Your Home For Winter
Get Your Furnace Tuned Up
For around $100 you can have a qualified technician come to your home and inspect your heating system to ensure your system is in proper working order. You don’t want to find out on the coldest day of the year your furnace couldn’t handle the demand. They’ll also check for carbon dioxide leakage – something that could ultimately save your life. Book an appointment before the dead of winter sets in.
Prevent Ice Dams
If your home had lots of icicles last winter — or worse, ice dams, which can cause melted water to back up and flow into your house — take steps to prevent potential damage this year. A home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor can identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your home’s attic that can lead to ice dams.
Turn Off Exterior Faucets
Water left in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the remaining water in the faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes older than 10-15 years typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside the house. Make sure you do this for all outside faucets.
Sweep Your Chimney
Before you start burning wood like crazy, make sure you call a professional to clean your chimney. Failure to routinely clean your stack can result in a build of creosote and other deposits that increase the likelihood of a chimney fire. Chimney fires can burn your house to the ground so if it’s been awhile, make sure you schedule the service. How often should you have it cleaned? Every 40-50 fires.
Consider Purchasing A Generator
If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time in the cold and dark, then you’ll want to consider seriously installing a generator. Do it BEFORE they predict a big storm as there won’t be a generator to be found for miles. If you do decide to install one, think carefully about where you’ll put one on your property and about your neighbors because generators are deafening.
Stock Up On Winter Essentials Now
Don’t wait for the first winter storm to stock up on supplies like ice melt and shovels. Nothing’s worse than finding your sidewalk and stairs covered in ice, and you’re out of ice melt or forgot you threw away your old shovel and never replaced it. Grab them now so you have what you need when the snow starts flying.
Seal Up Your Ducts
Your ducts are often out of sight, out of mind, tucked away in the attic or basement, but a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more!
Supplement If You Must
Despite putting in new windows three years ago, my house is extremely drafty in the winter. I’ve had my house insulated, had the energy audit, have caulked and recaulked and despite all my best efforts some of the areas around my windows are just drafty. I supplement my heating with space heaters in the rooms that can get frigid. It’s not ideal, but if you have a similar situation, a space heater can be a life saver and saves you from cranking up the heat in the whole house.