While many parts of the U.S. are prone to baking in glorious sunshine, the winter can herald some pretty extreme weather conditions. Minnesota, Michigan, Idaho, and Maine are the worst affected states for colder weather and adverse conditions.
Preparing your home for the winter can mean different things depending on where you live. Experience changes in temperatures and weather conditions. Looking at how you can protect your home and make sure it can cope with the colder weather can help you manage the winter without too many significant problems.
Check Your Furnace
Have you often ignored suggestions to have your gas or electric furnace inspected yearly by a qualified professional? While it might seem like an added expense to be told nothing is wrong, the reason is that it will be substantially more expensive if you have to contact for an emergency repair while it is below zero degrees outside. Furnaces can accumulate dust, develop obstructions in the outdoor air intake system, or develop gas ignition problems that may go undiscovered until it is too late.
Get your heating needs to be sorted by contacting professionals before the colder temperatures come in. Ensure you have a good supply of fuel from Tri Gas & Oil to help you heat your home correctly once your system has been checked and any repairs are undertaken.
Check Your HVAC
The average lifespan of an air conditioning system is 12 to 15 years. That being said, this isn’t a golden rule. How your system is cared for and maintained plays a big part in how long it will last.
Take advantage of this opportunity to change your filters, at the absolute least, before the weather gets chilly. Have your HVAC system evaluated by a competent HVAC company. Even better, consider signing up for a yearly maintenance agreement. Have a contractor inspect your system to ensure that your heat will be operational when you require it the most. It is far preferable to discover an HVAC problem during the temperate temperatures of the fall than it is to find out that your furnace is not working during a chilly winter day.
The presence of air leaks in your windows throughout the winter months can drive up your energy cost — as well as detract from the pleasant atmosphere you want to create inside your home when it’s freezing outside. According to the U.S. Energy Department, decreasing draughts can cut your home’s energy bills by up to 20 percent each year while making your living area more comfortable for your family.
Easy and cost-effective ways to do if you cannot afford to replace the whole unit include;
- V-Seal Weather Stripping – Install this weather stripping along the sash sides. (Weatherstripping is great for doors.) The V-seal allows windows to open and close evenly.
- Rope Caulk – This soft, sticky substance molds to the gap and removes easily at the end of the winter.
- Shrink Film – When heated with a hairdryer, this clear plastic sheeting shrinks drum-tight. The film blocks draughts and collects insulating air. To avoid removing paint, use rubbing alcohol to loosen tape in the spring.
- Draft Snake – Buy a foam-and-fabric draught snake kit if your window is letting in cold air. Cut the 36-inch foam tube to size and cover it with the washable cover. Then close the window and place the snake on the sill.
Check Your Vents
For warm air to circulate throughout your home, you don’t want furniture or other obstructions in the way. More importantly, you don’t want anything in the way of the air intake vents; blockages could result in your furnace “suffocating” and requiring costly repairs. Keep all vents clear of anything that could obstruct the passage of fresh air.
When it comes to warm weather, ceiling fans that rotate counter-clockwise are ideal, but reversing them to turn clockwise will assist in circulating the hot air near the ceiling back toward the room. The majority of fans should provide you with the option of switching.
Seal Masonry and Hard Surfaces
If you have a concrete patio, driveway, or pathway, make sure that they are secured as well. Apply a thin layer of concrete sealer to all of your flat outside concrete surfaces regularly. Control joints are deliberately placed in your concrete by skilled masons to keep cracking to a minimum. Examine your concrete and fill any cracks before applying the sealant to ensure that water does not get in and freeze over the winter months. This should ensure that your costly concrete construction lasts for an extremely long time.
Check to see that the dirt around your foundation hasn’t settled, causing spots where water can collect near your home’s structure. If you come across a low location, you can fill it in with soil. After that, walk around your home and inspect your rain gutters and downspouts. Look to see that the water is being transported away from the house. If downspout extenders are required, install them. It is possible for saturated soil surrounding a foundation to cause significant problems as it freezes and thaws throughout the winter months.
Check Trees on Your Property before the Winter
Examine your trees and make sure they’re in good health before the leaves begin to fall. This is especially important if you have trees that could fall on your home or a neighbor’s property. Don’t expect a dying tree to be easily identified. Sometimes you won’t even notice it’s happening, especially if you have a lot of trees in your yard. Although it is not a good time to trim your trees in the fall, it is a good idea to do it before winter if there are branches up against your house. This will prevent ice-coated branches from damaging your siding or windows.
Take the time to complete these jobs and any others you feel may need to complete there that can protect your home in plenty of time before the weather changes to be confident your home is secure and prepared for the winter.