Is your home winter-ready? Even though you want to enjoy every autumn day, you must prepare your house for the impending winter. Are you trying to figure out where to begin? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll go through several tried-and-true methods to prepare your home for the winter.
Inspect and Seal Windows and Doors
One major thing you must do as you prepare your home for the winter is inspect your windows and doors. These are common areas for heat loss in a home. In fact, did you know that heat gain and heat loss through windows account for 25% to 30% of household heating and cooling energy use? According to the US Department of Energy, windows are a home’s main source of heat loss. Make sure there are no gaps or holes in your windows, and fill any that you find using the proper filler if they are small.
Weatherstripping, available in various materials and designs, is a practical solution for homes to save energy. Angi states that the price per linear foot ranges from $1.45 to $25. Foam, tube, and gasket weatherstripping items are on the cheap end, and magnetic, metal, and door sweeps are on the high end. Filling in holes can be a terrific way to stop heat from escaping the house, but you should also try insulating your windows as much as possible.
Thick and well-made window treatments act as an important barrier from the window to your space, limiting the movement of any cold air. However, it may be time for a window replacement if your sashes aren’t meeting or door replacements if your inner lock isn’t working. A blind and a curtain added to your window treatments will increase insulation and reduce heating demand. Let’s not forget to mention how gorgeous they are in your windows!
Assess Your Roof
One of those preventive maintenance tasks that you could overlook as you prepare your home for the winter is a roof inspection. A sturdy roof is the first level of protection from the weather. Winter brings a lot of snow and freezing weather, which may quickly worsen roofing problems. Use a ladder to get up close and personal with your roof. If you’re afraid of heights, use a pair of binoculars to conduct a comprehensive inspection from the ground.
Look for damaged, loose, or missing shingles to prevent leaks during winter storms or from melting snow. Don’t ignore the moss, fungus, and worn rubber surrounding vent pipes, as they could signal that the roof is rotting. Rake or blow off fall leaves and pine needles because they can trap moisture on flat, asphalt- and pebble-surfaced roofs.
Hire a roofing service company to fix it if necessary. According to Bankrate, the average cost of a roof repair is $5,755 to $12,498. Don’t forget to inspect and fix any cracks in the flashing seals surrounding chimneys and vent stacks. You must fix any damage to your roof before it faces its harshest test: packed snow. Winter storms, particularly those that bring heavy rain and hail, are renowned for wreaking havoc on roofs.
Replace Your Flooring
As you prepare your home for the winter, replacing your flooring isn’t an option if you don’t have the right flooring. Renovate your flooring to make your house a warm retreat on gloomy nights. Here are some suggestions for updating your floors in time for the winter.
Heating From the Ground Up
Tile floors are a respite in the summer but can cause bare feet to get very cold in the winter. You can install heated floors as a remedy. There are now two heating options for radiant heated floors: electric and water-based. While water heating uses pipes that flow beneath the floors, electric heating warms wires underneath the flooring. Even heated hardwood floors are possible, but not all types of wood are compatible. To determine whether your floors might be a good candidate for this form of heating, consult a flooring contractor.
Weather-proof Your Floors
Particularly in the winter, areas with a lot of foot activity are more likely to experience wear and tear. Start by choosing a material that will last if you want your floors to endure the test of time. Areas prone to dirt and other contaminants are perfect for vinyl plank flooring. Vinyl planks resemble hardwood in appearance but are much simpler to maintain. The flooring keeps the heat in the house with a high-quality underlayment.
Prepare Your Drains
Dealing with a blocked drain is the last thing you’ll want to do as winter approaches! Home Advisor estimates that the cost to replace drain pipes in your house can range between $225 and $1,169, with the average drain pipe replacement cost totaling $696. This estimate reflects the cost of replacing a small plumbing section (like a kitchen sink or bathroom drain line). Projects that require replacing pipes throughout an entire home could cost upwards of $15,000.
Therefore, maintaining your drains is crucial as you prepare your home for the winter. Drains are more susceptible to issues due to increased use and the cold. Here are some simple precautions to safeguard your home from damaged or burst pipes and decreased flow rates.
Clear Drain Grates
Cleaning your drains is a straightforward way to guarantee they will function fully during the winter. Clear the grate of any leaves, mud, or other fall-related debris. If there isn’t any debris, there won’t be anything to freeze and clog your drains.
Install drain safety measures
Adding drain protection can be worthwhile if you have cleaned your drains, but the leaves are still falling. A non-freeze plastic drain cover would be the perfect remedy. Then, to ensure that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises this winter, you must routinely clean the drain protector.
Fix any leaks
It’s essential to check your home for leaks following the fall months before the temperatures drop because pipes can crack as they expand and shrink. If you locate any, repair them with a patch kit. However, if the pipes come from your heating or water mains, contact a drain cleaning company immediately because doing it yourself could be detrimental. By taking some preventative measures now, you can steer clear of any significant problems (and the hefty repair costs that go along with them!) in the future. Get your drains ready today to ensure your home is ready for whatever the winter may bring.
Service Your Water Heater
Is your water heater ready for the winter? Spending time and money on water heater repair and maintenance is one of the most crucial things you can do as you prepare your home for the winter. Bob Vila says water heater repair costs typically range from $221 to $964. Although the national average repair cost is $591, the type of repair needed heavily influences the final price.
The first thing you need to do is check the pressure relief valve. In extreme circumstances, it will stop the water heater from catching fire or malfunctioning. To be safe, we advise testing the valve during a fall to ensure it functions properly. Remember to remove silt that collects at the bottom of the tank by emptying and cleaning it. Tanks containing too much sediment deteriorate quickly, and you’ll have to replace them sooner than regularly emptied and cleaned tanks.
Don’t forget to change the temperature – the outdoor temperature drops in winter. Your water heater may not be able to heat the water sufficiently and send it through your pipes while maintaining a pleasant temperature.
Remove Dead Trees
Your trees might require assistance all winter long. The cold and snow have a terrible effect on the leaves, branches, and roots. You should do a few things to prepare for winter to keep your tree healthy this winter.
You should first invite a tree care expert to your home so they can assess the trees. They will identify problems that could develop throughout the winter and suggest solutions to make them less likely. Large trees that are close to your home are very crucial to consider!
Cut off any dead or dying branches from the trees on your property. The best way to ensure your trees can withstand the winter cold is to hire local tree services to prune them for you. Before snow, ice, and wind arrive, you should have them cut back to reduce the risk of property damage and personal injury.
Prep your AC
You may have pushed any thoughts of air conditioner maintenance out of your mind as winter approaches since you’ll stop using it. But as you prepare your home for the winter, this is the best time to repair it. By winterizing your AC, you can keep it safe from inclement weather, ice buildup, and rust damage so that it will be ready for use the following year. According to Angi, you can expect to budget around $350 for average HVAC repair costs.
Clean your AC unit of dirt, insects, or bird droppings. Remove any dead grass, branches, and leaves accumulated there. Search for the AC power disconnect switch nearby and turn it ‘off.’ Turn the breaker at the main panel to ‘off’ if there isn’t one. Your AC won’t be able to operate on unexpectedly warm winter days without power.
Additionally, now is the ideal time to check the AC. Inspect the casing for leaks, rust, cracks, and other anomalies. Check to see if the seals are intact and tight. These difficulties can appear minor but could eventually lead to severe complications. Contact AC services if you discover any of these problems while performing routine maintenance on your air conditioner. Seasonal maintenance with the help of local heating and air conditioning professionals is necessary to help prevent problems and keep the system operating optimally.
Get Your Outdoor Space Ready
Another excellent tip as you prepare your home for the winter is to ensure your garden is open, tidy, and prepared for winter. You are safeguarding your investment by investing a little effort in maintenance today. Here is what you need to do.
Clear your yard of any dead plants and fallen branches. Remove all the leaves from the lawn with a rake, or chop them up with your lawn mower. In either case, you must remove the large leaves from the lawn to aid in aeration and developing new grass.
Prepare and safeguard your accessories and furniture. If you are unable to keep cushions, you should cover them. Over the winter, wind tends to cause havoc by blowing in dirt and debris, making it more difficult to clean the cushions later. Take away decorations like candles, lanterns, and other accouterments.
Remove hanging baskets and containers with annual flowers. Bring inside any cold-sensitive plants that you intend to overwinter indoors or in a warmer greenhouse.
If your gutters overhang your patio, check and clean them. After a storm, it may be challenging to clean the area due to frozen areas caused by clogged downspouts.
Awnings, shade sails, umbrellas, and pergola coverings are essential to remember. Retract, take out, or secure.
Cleaning and covering non-use-during-the-winter appliances can extend their lifespan. You can degrease and wipe up open cooktops, brick ovens, traditional grills, and egg-shaped grills to prevent animals from getting inside and causing trouble. Remove food, beverages, and ice from refrigerators and ice makers. Clean the vents of any debris and dust.
Eliminate weeds. Now is a great time to remove any unsightly weeds from your lawn. During the dormant winter months, when nutrients are scarcer and even more crucial, perennial weeds compete with your grass for them.
If this checklist is long and the days are short, consider hiring landscaper companies to help you prepare your yard and garden for the chilly months. You can expect to spend around $2,600 on the low end for a simple garden refresh, according to The Spruce, but it will be worth it.
Sweep the Chimney
Sweeping your chimney is another thing you must do as you prepare your home for the winter. Ensure your fireplace (or any other heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood, or coal), chimney, and vents are clean and in working order before you burn more logs. Doing so can prevent chimney fires and keep carbon monoxide from entering your house.
The frequency of chimney cleaning is not subject to any strict guidelines. The National Fire Protection Association advises hiring a skilled specialist to clean and examine heating equipment and chimneys once a year. According to Forbes, the average cost to clean a chimney is $250.
Cleaning the ash and carbon residue of creosote from burning wood in your fireplace or stove is necessary. As an explosive chemical, creosote can potentially catch fire and spread throughout the chimney and into your house. Even if you decide to clean the chimney yourself, you should still have it inspected by a professional regularly.
Regular chimney cleaning can lower the chance of a chimney fire. Creosote will be inspected professionally for obstructions, damage, and structural issues. Cleaning your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper will help ensure your system operates safely during the heating season by removing soot, blockages, and built-up creosote.
Making the necessary preparations for winter could help you prevent damage or at least minimize the harm that winter storms cause to your property. You might feel more prepared once you winterize your house. Prepare your home for the winter with these great tips, and you won’t have to worry about adding more money to your energy bill.