It’s easy getting ourselves winter ready. Boots, gloves, and scarves? Check, check, check! But do we make those same efforts to ensure our homes are ready to beat the cold temps? We’ve got the tips to help you save money, stay warm, and prevent damage during the winter season.
1. Pipe Protection
“Make sure to drip your faucets,” Mom would always say. She’s right (as usual!). Water expands as it freezes. If water freezes inside your pipes, it will expand too, causing your pipes to crack. That’s why it’s a good idea to leave a faucet dripping in very cold weather in order to avoid any pipes from bursting.
Be sure to drain the water from outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems. Disconnect, roll-up and store any outdoor hoses, along with covering any outdoor faucets with foam insulators. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve even seen a sock do the trick!
Pro Tip: In case of an emergency, know where your water shutoff valve is in order to turn off your water at the source. This will minimize leaking when and if a pipe were to burst.
2. Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney
Everyone loves cozying up to a warm fire on a winter evening. Before doing so, make an appointment for your furnace’s annual checkup. Its important to have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional. This should include sweeping out any debris that could catch fire, as well as checking to see if your furnace filter needs replacing. Without this, a system can wear itself out quickly, pump deadly carbon monoxide into your home, or simply stop working.
A clean, well-adjusted heating system typically costs around $100, and is far less than the price of a new furnace. Just as we have routine car inspections, a furnace is no different.
3. Seal leaks and save money
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5%-30% of your energy use. In order to keep drafts to a minimum, add or replace worn weather stripping around doors as needed, and caulk any window gaps. If doorsteps are worn, replace them.
Another way to save on heating costs is not to heat unused spaces. Keep the vents and doors closed in unused rooms.
4. Trim any nearby trees
If you have any tree branches hanging near your roof, windows, or driveway, trim them back. Snow and ice will weigh them down and potentially cause breakage. This can save potential damage to both your home and car.
5. Clean your gutters
Clogged gutters can lead to ice dam formation on your roof. Ice dams block the path of melted snow from your roof, which can then lead to the water seeping into your house, causing water damage. To prevent this from happening, make sure to clean out dead leaves and other debris in your gutters in order for water to drain freely.
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