There’s no escaping the coming of winter. Most people spend more time thinking about holiday decorations than winterproofing their home. To protect your investment, however, seasonal maintenance is a must. And winter is one of the most important seasons to protect your home against the elements. Here’s a checklist to help navigate vulnerable areas of the home.
∙ Furnace. Ensure it’s in working order. Hire a professional who can clean, lubricate, and adjust the furnace for maximum efficiency. Replace the filter regularly.
∙ Doors. Check for gaps under doors where cold drafts will come in and heated air (that you’re paying for!) will flow out. Add rubber to the bottom of doors to fill the gap or purchase temporary draft snakes. You can even use rolled up towels as a short-term solution.
∙ Vents. Close vents that may have been opened for the warm weather.
∙ Outdoor Water. Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and turn off the water.
∙ Outdoor Supplies. Buy a snow shovel and other winter supplies such as salt for walkways before snow and ice hits. Always keep an ice scraper and snow brush in the car.
∙ Food and Water Storage. Keep extra water and canned food in storage just in case you’re in a situation where the weather makes it too treacherous to venture out of the home for several days.
∙ Water Pipe Protection. Freezing water pipes is a common problem during winter. Pipes should be insulated, stripped, and caulked. During extraordinarily frigid temperatures, you may need to run a trickle of water on all faucets and keep cabinetry open below sinks to expose pipes to warm air in your home.
∙ Fire Safety. If you’re using a fireplace for added warmth and coziness, make sure you know how to do so safely. Take time to schedule a deep clean and inspection by a chimney professional. Also, always remember to keep pets and children away from the flames and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Never let a fire burn unattended, and never dump recently burnt ashes in the trash. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before falling asleep.
∙ Flue Check. For all fireplaces, check that the flue seals tightly when not in use. This prevents cold air from coming in and warm air escaping through the chimney.
∙ Windows. Windows are one of the biggest areas where heat escapes and cold air enters. Especially in older homes, weatherproofing the windows can make a big difference in energy costs and a comfortable living area. Caulk or weather-stripping are the best ways to weatherproof windows. But if windows are long past their prime, consider replacement with energy-efficient double paned windows.
∙ Attic and Basement. Check the attic, walls, and basement for adequate insulation.
∙ Roof and Gutters. Hire a contractor to look for damaged roof shingles and loose gutters.
Winterproofing involves tasks that can be done relatively inexpensively, but will make a big difference in the comfort level of your home. Whether tackling the items on your own or hiring a professional, you’ll keep the home warmer and safer during the cold winter months.
Real Estate Term of the Week
Ice Dam: A ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.