Is your home ready for the winter?
This might be a question you ask every year, but it’s never too early or too late to make sure your home is winter-ready. With the changes in the weather, your home may experience different things like cold drafts, higher energy costs and ice build-up.
As the winter months continue, here are 10 tips for homeowners this winter that are guaranteed to keep your household warm, safe and prepared for the weather.
Any heating equipment, like fireplaces, furnaces or chimneys, is more prone to cause fires. Before you fire up your heating system this winter, have a professional service it.
Ensuring this equipment is up-to-par will prevent fires and will keep your house warm. You should repeat this each year.
During the fall season, leaves and other debris tend to pile up in the gutters. If left uncleaned, the debris can cause snow and ice to build up in the drains as well. Cleaning the gutters is not a fun job, but it saves a lot of hassle.
When gutters clog and overflow, they’ll likely break. Scoop out all of the dirt and leaves, and run water through them to make sure there is proper drainage. If you see any leaks, seal them for the winter.
Although wintertime limits the amount of daylight, whenever the sun does shine, let it in your house. Open the curtains as much as possible to let in natural light.
The sun is a free source of energy, so using it as an extra heating element saves you money. You can turn down the thermostat and simply soak in the sunlight during the day. At nighttime, remember to close your blinds and curtains to retain the heat harnessed from the sunshine.
Another way to save energy costs this winter is to seal all leaky doors and windows. That brutal winter air can seep into your home, which causes you to increase the heat. This is preventable by checking for cracks around your entry points.
For windows, especially if they’re older, you can add weatherstripping. You can do the same with your doors. Additionally, add a draft stopper under your door to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
On days where the temperature is just a bit warmer in the winter, rather than keeping your thermostat up, turn it down and have the whole family add an extra layer or two. Wool socks and a heavy sweatshirt can make them feel just as warm as if you turned up the thermostat a few degrees.
Over the course of the winter, you’ll save money by turning down the thermostat and bundling up instead.
Before a snowstorm or other winter storm hits, prepare an emergency kit and know the risks associated with a snowstorm in your region. Heavy snow and ice can cause power outages or keep you in your home for days if the roads are unsafe.
Generators are a great tool to have in these situations, so make sure it’s working before the chance of a storm hits. Additionally, have extra batteries for lanterns, flashlights and charging ports. Gather warm clothes and canned food for more prolonged outages as well.
Just as heavy snow and ice can cause power outages, it can also cause weak or older tree branches to snap. For the trees near your home or near a power line, ensure they’re trimmed back enough and that any faulty-looking branches are taken care of.
Even sturdier branches can come crashing down, so if there are any branches or trees that could come through your home or a window, cut them off.
For your own safety and the safety of anyone who comes to your home, clear off the walkways. Removing snow and ice is essential to prevent any slips or falls. Even if it’s not required that you shovel the sidewalks near your home, you still should clear them to ensure you won’t be held liable for any injuries.
After you remove the snow, spread salt to melt icy patches. If you know a storm is coming, you can put down salt to get ahead of the game, which will melt the snow and ice as it forms on the walkways.
As you want to keep your home well insulated during the winter, it’s important to ventilate your home every once in a while. While your family goes in and out of the house, new germs and other airborne particles enter your home. Since you’re likely not opening windows and doors in the winter, those particles get trapped.
On warmer days, open a window, even if it’s only for a short time. Additionally, clean air filters and vents for better ventilation. If your house is feeling especially stuffy, you could add an air purifier.
Winter breeds the perfect conditions for illnesses. Everyone is trapped indoors, so germs spread more quickly. Hand-washing should be practiced all year, but make sure your family is washing their hands more frequently in the winter.
Keep hand sanitizer around as well. Use it often if someone in your household is sick.
The winter season often brings chilly temperatures, higher energy costs and increased danger. However, by using these tips to prepare your home for winter, you can prevent these circumstances. Keep your family safe and warm this winter!