The cool, crisp days of Fall feel fantastic after a long, hot summer. While it’s a beautiful time of the year, it’s no time to rest. The temperature is only going to drop as Winter approaches and now is the time to prepare your home for the coming onslaught of frigid wind and heavy snow. There are a plethora of Winter maintenance tips for homeowners, but here are 10 easy projects to tackle before cold weather sets in.
Many of these are items we point out during our home inspections. Don’t worry, they’re all fairly easy and won’t break your budget.
1) Install Weather-Stripping
Odds are, the doors and windows of your home are allowing some air to leak in, and out. This will cause uncomfortable cold drafts and it will make your furnace work harder to keep your home warm. A simple way to remedy this is to install weather-stripping. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes.
2) Seal Exterior Air Leaks
Small cracks in the exterior window trim, siding and door frames are a source of unwanted cold air leaks. Other openings like where your pipes and wiring enter your home are also potential trouble spots. This is a quick and inexpensive fix, using a color-match exterior caulk to fill the void.
3) Update Your Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are more reliable and regulate the heat in your home more efficiently, which saves you money and keeps you warmer. Many models are easily controlled with a smart phone or other device, meaning you can adjust the temperature, wherever you are.
4) Check Your Furnace
Your heating system is going to be called into action sooner than you’d like to believe. In order to assure that it is ready for the task, it needs servicing. It’s best to call in a professional to check and tune up your heating system, they’ll do a complete inspection and complete necessary repairs. This is one of the most common items we call out on home inspections.
5) Upgrade Your Insulation
Inadequate insulation lets warm air to make its way up and out of the roof. Likewise, the cold air leaks into your home, making it uncomfortably cold. The only way to prevent this is with an adequate layer of insulation. Handling and installing insulation can be hazardous, and is best left to a professional.
6) Prepare Your Pipes
Frozen water expands, which causes pipes to burst, sending water and ice flowing into your home. To prevent this costly, and potentially damaging problem, wrap your pipes in a foam-rubber or fiberglass material. In very cold climates, an electric heat tape wrapped around the pipe is also recommended.
7) Clean Your Gutters
Leaves, twigs and other debris also collect in gutters, creating a dam that traps water. As the temperature drops, this water freezes, causing an ice dam which leads to expensive repairs. While you’re cleaning the gutters, repair or replace worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
8) Outdoor Faucet Care
First off, remove the hose from the faucet, drain the water from it and stow it away. Otherwise, a sudden cold snap could cause the water in the hose to freeze, causing damage to the faucet, pipes and your home. Turn off the faucet and then cut off the water supply from the inside to avoid this issue.
9) Drain Your Sprinkler
Your lawn looks beautiful all summer because of your sprinkler system, and it was undoubtedly a hefty investment. It’s vital that you prepare your irrigation system for the freezing temperatures ahead by draining it. Otherwise, much like your garden hose, water will freeze in the system, causing it to burst.
10) Lawn & Garden Prep
Clean any dead plant material from around your home, and remove any other debris from the yard, so there aren’t hidden dangers under snow. It’s also a good time to clear out dead branches from the trees in your yard. Heavy snow, ice and wind will cause dried limbs to fall, causing damage to your home.
Don’t let Winter creep up on you without preparing your home properly. It only takes a few minutes to accomplish many of the tips we’ve mentioned above, and most are very inexpensive as well. If you have any questions about home maintenance, please contact us if you’re in the Canton, Westland & Livonia Michigan area. We’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.