Before the first frost hits, prepare your home for the winter chill. Winterizing is not only important for your personal comfort, but also for your wallet. It’ll take a weekend to get everything in order, but the dividends will pay off throughout the season. Start with the outside of your home and work your way indoors. Before long, you’ll have everything on your do to list checked off.
Outside Your Home
1.) Eliminate Drips
After a fun filled summer of watering your lawn and having outdoor gatherings, it’s time to clean up. Walk the perimeter of your home and remove all connecting hoses and make sure the water source is completely turned off. A simple drip all winter can lead to ice formation along the side of your home that can be dangerous and costly. Empty the hoses and store them in your shed, garage or basement. In addition, head up to the roof and checks for leaks or possible weak spots. If you have trees near your home, make sure that none of the branches are within reach of the roof. If they are trim them back.
2.) Spot Check & Store
A few inches of heavy snow can cause it to lean on the home and cause damage. Also, remove all the leaves and debris from the gutters. If you haven’t already removed the patio furniture, now is a good time to either cover them or store them away. Many people store belongings in their shed or garage without giving thought to whether or not the containers are closed.
If you’re a weekend warrior and enjoy doing odd projects in the garage over the spring and summer months, be sure all the paints and waste are properly sealed and disposed of and that the area is properly cleaned prior to storing. There are many toxins in the garage and when you close the door it can become a hazardous environment.
3.) Maintain the HVAC
Inside your home, there are many important items that every homeowner should check each year prior to winter. First, check your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Regular maintenance will keep it operating properly and allow you to detect a potential problem before it becomes a major one. The last thing you want is a malfunctioning furnace when the temperature drops below freezing. There’s a really cool online article about the history of heating, in case you really want to know ALL there is to know about heat systems!
4.) Program & Save
If you’re still using a manual thermostat, for a few extra dollars, you can install a programmable version that you can set for various times (ie: overnight and daytime) while the family is away from home. This will drastically reduce your energy bill each month, without reducing your level of comfort.
5.) Check for Leaks
Plumbing is another important area of the home. If it’s been a few years since you’ve had any work done, this is good time to follow the pipes and make sure there are no leaks. If you don’t feel comfortable with looking at the heating and plumbing, it’s best to contact a professional. You should be able to track down a good Los Angeles plumber with ease. Not in the Los Angeles area? Check out Angie’s List for reviews of plumbers in your area.
Older windows and doors naturally let air inside. If it’s not in your budget to replace them, an effective alternative is to add caulk, weather-stripping or plastic. A few dollars spent at your local hardware store will keep you comfy, while keeping the winter bills to a minimum. If it’s been a while since you replaced the insulation, adding it in the attic and walls will keep your home energy-efficient, while keeping your family comfortable throughout the season. These items are not only beneficial to you in the winter months, but also year round.
With a little effort and a small amount of time, winterizing your home can save you from a potential problem and reduce your expenses. This translates into more money in your pocket and a comfortable indoor living environment.