Winter season brings not only chilly temperatures but also heavy snowfalls. Winter storms are also possible. However, the severity of the cold weather normally lasts throughout the whole season. As such, winter heating is essential for your safety and comfort. It also means that saving heating and energy costs are of utmost significance to your household.
Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your home is ready for the winter weather. Making your home winter ready doesn’t have to be a difficult or an expensive job. The checklist below will provide you with nine maintenance tasks you can do around your residential property to winterize your home and to conserve energy this winter.
1. Inspect and Tune-Up All Your Home’s Systems
Winter is the prime season for heating units. Therefore, it’s important to have your heating unit inspected by a reputable HVAC service technician to ensure it is working efficiently and optimally. If you use a furnace to heat your living space, clean it and replace its filter. Also, check all your heating vents around the house to ensure none of them is blocked by drapes or furniture.
You need to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors as well. Change their batteries, and test them to ensure they are working well. According to experts, carbon monoxide poisoning and many fires occur at the peak of the cold season. Therefore, having working smoke detectors can help you prevent unnecessary fires and property damage. A carbon monoxide detector is also vital to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning and ensuring winter safety.
2. Reverse Ceiling Fans
As we were taught in school, hot air rises. Reversing your ceiling fan’s direction can help create an updraft, pushing down the heated air that’s pressed against the room’s ceiling in turn. By keeping the heated air circulating in your house, you will utilize heat more efficiently, eventually cutting down on your energy costs. If your house does not have high ceilings, reversing all your fans’ directions once the weather turns can still be helpful. To reverse the direction of all your fans, ensure the fans are off, and then turn the switch located above the blades. Better still, if you have remote-controlled fans, use the option for reversing the direction on your remote.
3. Drain Your Sprinklers
If you own an outdoor sprinkler system, you need to remove the residual water before the onset of the cold season. Removing the water will prevent it from freezing inside the pipes, preventing them from expanding and cracking. You can hire an irrigation service to blow out the residual water utilizing compressed air.
However, if you prefer to do it yourself, consult the manufacturer’s manual because directions vary depending on the type of system. Generally, the draining process involves shutting off the water source, then opening all the draining valves in the lowest part of your irrigation system to allow the water to drain.
4. Insulate Your Pipes
Temperatures can drop pretty low very quickly, especially during winter storms. Extremely low temperatures are bad for all unprotected pipes around and below your home. When exposed to chilly temperatures outside your home’s insulation, pipes can freeze and even burst, leading to massive water damage. Before the cold weather sets in, wrap all unprotected pipes around and below your house. You can also leave your sink cabinets open to the heated air in your home, and you can turn some faucets on to prevent the pipes from freezing during the cold season.
5. Cut Down Tree Branches
Winter snow is usually heavy, and when you experience ice storms, even the healthiest tree branches may not withstand the weight. Cutting down all the overhanging branches around your home can help you prevent roof damage if some branches break.
Ice-coated branches are heavy and can easily damage your roofing or even fall through, creating internal damage or worse. If you are not comfortable cutting the branches yourself, you can hire a tree surgeon or landscaping company. These professionals will examine the trees around your home and make the necessary adjustments to keep your house safe.
6. Get the Fireplace Ready
A fireplace is not among the most efficient ways to heat your living space, but it’s good for cooking and heating during power outages in your area. Check the fireplace’s flue for bird nests, cracks, creosote buildup, and other potential issues before the cold weather begins. Also, check the outside part of the fireplace to ensure that none of the mortar or bricks is crumbling.
Secondly, check the damper to ensure its closes tightly to avoid drafts. The damper might also be warped and sipping out heat. One of the best solutions is a flue sealer. It is generally an expandable plastic pillow that pads up the flue. You only need to install it to ensure that there are no leakages around the edges.
7. Cover the Windows
The other way to winterize your house is by covering all your windows. Get an insulator kit from your nearby store and begin covering the windows. This way, you will trap the air between the window and the film, turning the air into an insulator. The window insulator kit usually comes with double-sided tapes and covers a maximum of five windows. Better still, if you can afford them, storm windows will give you a more permanent solution.
8. Inspect the Roof and Gutters
You need to check the condition of your gutters and roofing before the onset of winter. You can either check them yourself or hire a roofing expert to inspect them for you. Check your home’s roofing for damaged or missing shingles, and immediately have them replaced. Also, check the flashing around your chimney and any other roof projection. These projections are usually the source of leakages. So, have them inspected and make any necessary repairs.
Your gutters should also be part of roof inspection. Ensure the downspouts and gutters are clean without any debris or leaves clogging them. The weight of the wet and frozen leaves in your gutters can increase the risk of damage. Ensure your downspouts are also solidly attached to avoid leaks.
9. Caulk and Seal Cracks and Drafts
If some of your doors always seem to have drafts when shut or if you have a window that doesn’t close tightly, you need to make some repairs before the cold season. New weatherstripping will help you solve all draft issues if the old one is worn out. However, if some doors and windows are badly damaged, consider replacing them to conserve heat. Also, caulk the smaller cracks in your house to avoid moisture damage.
Partner With the Experts
Winterizing your residential property can be quite challenging when it’s already freezing outside. Therefore, the best time to prepare your house for the cold weather is during the fall season. Taking the time to perform the maintenance tasks highlighted above will help you reduce home damage or prevent damage completely during winter storms.
Do you need help winterizing your home? Our experienced professionals from Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning are here to help. These experts will perform basic maintenance tasks to make your home ready for the cold season. We also offer cooling and heating services to the residents of San Marcos, CA, and its surroundings. Contact us now to schedule an appointment or to request any of our services.