It happens every year. One minute everyone is talking about the heat, then all-of-a-sudden, the temperature drops, and cold weather is here. If you, like many of us, are spending more time around the house during the pandemic, the experts at Stephens offer a few tips for winterizing your home before it’s 15 degrees outside.
Check out the gutters.
Your gutters prevent damage from your home’s foundation and protect your siding and landscaping. Start with a sturdy ladder or hire a professional to help with this task. If you’re the DIY-type, spread a tarp underneath the area and use a small scoop or old spatula to remove gunk. Then use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts of any remaining debris (aka gunk).
Protect the pipes.
Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during cold weather and can cost thousands in water damage. The pipes most at risk are those in unheated spaces like basements, attics, and garages, although lines in cabinets or exterior walls can freeze as well. Protect them with pipe insulation which is inexpensive and can be found at the local hardware store. Also, remove all attached garden hoses, shut off the valves, and insulate outside faucets.
Do away with drafts.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to stop cold air from coming in is to caulk around holes and openings. Inspect the weather stripping around all exterior doors to ensure that it is in good shape and replace it if necessary. Close the door and check for air-leakage around all four edges. Take a peek underneath. If you see sunlight, you will need to raise the threshold or install a door sweep.
Keep it cozy.
Set your thermostat for at least 65 degrees and make sure your home is well-insulated. The most effective use of insulation is in the attic. A properly insulated attic floor will prevent heated air in the rooms below from escaping. Place an insulated cover over the attic opening or stairway. We also like to keep cozy blankets around for TV watching. (Full disclosure: we do this during the summer months too.)
How about your heater?
This is the perfect time to call your HVAC professional and have them come out to inspect your furnace for safety and peak performance. Breakdowns usually happen when you need heat the most. A trained technician may very well find small problems that could result in a major repair if left unchecked. You’ll hear this from your HVAC tech too, but we recommend changing your air filters every month year-round to improve the efficiency of your system.
Home fires are more common in winter, so your smoke detectors must work. Check them monthly and replace batteries as needed. You should also consider installing a carbon monoxide detector to avoid inadvertently trapping this toxic gas in your home.
Thinking of buying or selling? Contact Stephens Real Estate. We’re ready to help.