Getting your home ready for winter should be an annual part of your home maintenance. Preparing your home now before the cold weather strikes will avoid many potential issues. Keeping you cost and saving your money all winter long.
From the roof down there are simple steps you can take to winterize your home, some of which need to be carried out on an annual basis and others that will stand you in good stead for years to come.
Our top tips include suggestions for both the exterior and interior of your home.
Making sure your gutters are flowing is vital winter preparation. Clogged gutters can cause all manner of problems especially in winter as freezing water expands and causes cracks.
Falling leaves in the fall mean there’s a high chance of gutters getting clogged and preventing water from freely flowing away from your roof. This can lead to ice dams and damage to the roof, attic or foundation of a home. This is why the fall is one of the best times for scheduling gutter cleaning for your home. An annual appointment in autumn assures gutters are not clogged or damaged entering the winter season.
One of the simplest and most effective ways of winterizing your home is to fix and fill any cracks. Using caulk or expanding foam to fill any cracks or gaps that have appeared on the outside of your home can make a big impact when in terms of stopping cold air getting in.
Plus filling gaps and cracks before the cold weather will stop water getting in and freezing making the problem worse.
You should also check the weather stripping around your doors. Even the smallest gap can make a big difference in how cozy your home is and how much you spend on heating.
Overhanging trees might not seem like an issue, especially once the leaves have fallen, but they can cause issues for your home. Ice and snow can easily build up on branches causing them to break and resulting in an avalanche of snow being deposited on your roof.
If you don’t have double glazing then insulating your windows is well worth the effort and will noticeably reduce your energy bills over the winter. Plus, insulating windows will also help to reduce damp and condensation in your home.
You can fit storm windows to the outside of your property which not only provide insulation but protect your windows from storm damage. These can be removed in the spring and stored for the following winter.
A more budget option would be to use bubble wrap or film on the inside of the window. And don’t underestimate the impact of insulting blinds or thick curtains.
Many homes do not have adequate insulation and so installing insulation in your attic could have a big impact on your heating bills and the warmth of your home.
On top of this heat loss can also cause ice dams and damage to your gutters. This happens because rising heat escaping through the roof melts ice and snow which then flows into the gutters where the temperature remains cold and ice has not been melted. So while this might look like it’s a gutter problem often the issue is a lack of insulation in your attic.
Making sure your pipes are well insulated is another simple way of winterizing your home. Insulating hot water pipes will save you energy and money and even time as hot water will get to your taps more quickly if the pipes are well insulated. Insulating pipes also reduced the risk of pipes freezing and even bursting in cold weather.
As well as the above tips there are a number of other quick and easy things you can do to prepare your home for winter.
If you have ceiling fans in your home reversing the direction of the blades can help keep you warm and reduce your heating costs.
During the warmer months ceiling fans are designed to circulate the air in the room pushing down cool air. In winter you can reverse the direction so warm air that has risen to the ceiling gets forced back down into the room.
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat installed this should certainly be a consideration for winterizing your home. Installing a smart meter means you can change the temperature while you are out and set the heating to come on later or earlier if your plans change. But even a programmable thermostat can mean you don’t waste money heating an empty home.
Insulating your water heater means it has to work less and you save money. You can get special jackets or use what you have.
If you have a chimney but don’t use the fireplace then installing a chimney balloon is a quick and easy way to stop heat escaping from your home. These simple devices are inflatable balloons that you feed up the chimney and inflate to stop draughts and heat from escaping.
They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and should last for years. Just make sure you remember to remove them if you do decide to have a cozy fire one night.
Winterizing your home has a number of benefits. Not only are you carrying out maintenance and preventing damage to your property but depending on the winterizing measure you carry out you will also have a warmer home, save money and have a positive environmental impact.
Many of these suggestions are things you can do yourself but others will benefit from professional assistance, and it goes without saying that if you are unsure you should always get professional advice.
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