5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter Weather
Homes need constant attention, and this is especially true when the colder winter months are coming. You need to take the time to protect your investment. Fall is a great time to start thinking about your home maintenance and getting it ready for the cold season. Here are a few things you can do to get ready for the winter and keep your home happy.
Check Your Home’s Air Conditioning and Heating System
Most heating and air conditioning systems last 12 to 15 years. Their overall lifespan largely depends on how well they’re maintained.
Before the weather gets cold, take the opportunity to at least change your filters. You should also have the system inspected by a quality HVAC contractor and consider an annual maintenance agreement. Have a professional check your system and make sure your heater is going to work when you need it most. It’s much better to find out that you have an HVAC problem in the fall, while the weather is nice, than on a cold winter day.
Check the air conditioning
Although the AC condensing unit is built for the outdoors, it can still get damaged by falling debris. You don’t have to invest in a waterproof cover (in fact, some manufacturers would advise against it, since it creates space for critters). Just put a sheet of plywood with a few bricks on top, and your air conditioner should be ready to work in the spring. Remember that your winter home maintenance checklist should also include storing and removing any window air conditioner units.
Check your heating system
As for your heating system, there are a few maintenance steps you should take before the temperature really starts to drop. If you have a high-efficiency heating system, PVC vent pipes need to be cleared of any obstructions. And if you have a boiler system, you should have it cleaned every year. Those with gas systems should have it cleaned about every three years.
Check Your Drainage
Check if the soil around your foundation has settled, since it can create areas for water to pool at the foundation. If you find a spot, simply refill it with some soil. After that, go and check your gutter downspouts. Make sure that water is being flushed away from the home. Install downspout extenders if necessary. Keep in mind that saturated soil around a foundation can cause serious problems as it thaws and freezes throughout the winter months.
Clean Your Gutters
Once the leaves have fallen, it’s time to clean your gutters. When your rain gutters back up, they overflow, and that water runs down your house, speeding up the deterioration of your home’s exterior. It can also cause water infiltration in the basement and deterioration of your foundation, which leads to all kinds of problems.
If your rain gutters are full of debris, water can back up against the home and damage the siding, roofing, and wood trim, as well as cause ice dams and leaks. Also, look for damaged or missing fascia boards and gutters and repair them.
The gutter only has one function, and that’s getting rain off the roof and down the drain. If it is blocked, it won’t be able to serve its function.
You’ll be able to see that there is a problem when the rain goes down the side of the house, or if any discoloration appears on your walls. These blockages are often the result of moss, fallen leaves, or twigs. Water can cause mold and dampness, so it’s essential to make sure it can effectively be drained from your home.
If you have the knowledge and time to clear your gutters, you can also do it yourself rather than looking for a professional.
Order Firewood and Clean Your Chimney
Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned before you start lighting fires in the winter months. A chimney sweep company can make sure the fireplace is safe to use, and it can also find any maintenance issues.
This is also the right time to order a load of firewood. Take the time to cover that wood and stack it in a good location in the yard. Make sure the old firewood isn’t rotten, and if it is, move it away from your home.
Ask your neighbors or friends for suggestions on good sources of wood in your community. Any hardwood, like oak, beech, maple, or elm, will work for firewood. You want to find seasoned firewood that’s at least one year old. Ash is the only kind of wood that you can burn “young,” after it’s cut down.
Before you start using your fireplace, make sure the vents and chimney are in good condition by having your chimney checked by a professional. This will help prevent potential fires and carbon monoxide from building up. According to every international code, chimneys should be inspected or cleaned on an annual basis. Even if they look OK, there may be internal damage to the bricks that you can’t see.
Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Winter is the time most home fires happen because it’s the time of year when we’re building fires and blasting the furnace. We also have our homes closed up more often, and carbon monoxide can be a big hazard. Check all of your smoke detectors and their batteries. If you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors, you should consider getting some. An HVAC inspection will also ensure your water heater and furnace are properly vented, which is the most probable source of carbon monoxide.
You need to make sure all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working in your house. Also, it’s best to have smoke alarms in every room of your house, including hallways. Be sure that your home maintenance includes checking the batteries in all alarms on a monthly basis, just to be sure.
Are you looking for ways to help weatherproof your home? Feel free to contact 1-800-HANSONS for a free estimate.