Thursday, 14 November 2013

Prep up your home for winter

Fall is officially here, which means that winter is lurking round the corner, ready with its assault. Snow and ice can have a damaging effect on your home’s interior and exterior and lead to expensive repairs. Improper insulation can inflict havoc on your home’s heating system and increase your heating bills. But worry not! There are numerous ways you can prepare your home for the cold, harsh months, some of which are listed below.

Tips to Prepare your Home for the Winter
Insulate the doors and windows
If your windows are old, they may need additional caulking to prevent air from sneaking its way in. The same goes for entry doors and sliding doors. Check the door frames and window openings to make sure they’re impervious to air leaks. If you find the slightest gap, use silicone caulk to seal up the crevices. You can also add weather-stripping around doors to prevent air from entering through the top and bottom.

Add new/storm windows
If the windows are very old, consider installing new vinyl replacement windows. Installing storm windows is also a good way to insulate a house. It may cost you initially, but vinyl is energy-efficient and an excellent insulator, and you’ll realize you have made a sound investment when you notice a marked decrease in your heating and cooling bills over time. Choose windows that bear the Energy Star label, such as the ones offered by Champion Window, to help reduce energy bills and improve the comfort of your home.

Tune up the heating system
Call an HVAC professional and get your heating system inspected. Over time, filters can become clogged with dust, so change the filters to increase the energy efficiency of your house. Invest in a programmable thermostat that can be set at the desired temperature when you’re indoors and cools off when no one is home.

Insulate the water pipes
Buy rolls of foam insulation easily available at hardware stores and wrap them around plumbing pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting in the dead of winter!

Improve attic insulation
An attic that’s not well insulated can allow heat to escape through the roof and send your energy bills soaring high. Add insulation to attics and crawlspaces to improve the energy efficiency of the entire house.

Drain the lawn irrigation system
Disconnect and drain all your garden hoses and lawn faucets. If you leave the water undrained, it can turn to ice and cause the pipes to crack open and burst.

Inspect the roof
The weeks before winter is the right time to inspect the roof and check for missing or worn-out shingles, leaks, and the condition of the flashing. Replace lost or broken shingles and fix any leaks that can become serious if left unattended. Get a rake and clean the roof of fallen leaves and dead branches. Trim any branches hanging over the roof so they don’t pose a threat by acting as a conveyance for squirrels and other pesky critters who can spoil the roof.

Reverse the Ceiling Fans
Reversing the direction of the ceiling fans once you turn on the heat is a great way to conserve energy. It pushes the warm air down and also lets you set the thermostat a degree or two lower.

Clean the chimneys
Chimneys can accumulate dirt and debris over time and cause fires due to poor ventilation. Now is the time to sweep and clean the chimneys and prevent the occurrence of any dangerous situation.

It may look like a mountain of work, but it’s not much once you get into the thick of it. So keep your property and family safe and secure in the bitter cold and avoid racking up costly utility bills by doing annual and maintenance and energy-saving tasks so you can enjoy winter without worrying about a thing!

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