Fall is rounding the corner, bringing winter in its aftermath. While the weather is still moderate, take time to repair holes, prevent damages, and increase energy flow into your home.
You might think it’s too early to prepare for winter. But gearing up for the cold season now is a worthwhile investment for your home.
Sure, house maintenance doesn’t come for free. But starting now will save you time and money in the long haul.
So, what are some of the steps you can take to ensure your home is ready for winter? Here’s a checklist of 10 measures to complete before the first snow falls.
Inspect Your HVAC System
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system works hardest during summer and winter. You wouldn’t want it to break down in the middle of a cold season; a failing heat pump could cause auxiliary electric heat strips to run, increasing your electric bills.
- Change your air filters at least every month.
- Make sure that heat pumps are running smoothly.
- Check for water leaks.
- Don’t block air vents.
Unclog Your Gutters and Downspouts
During fall, debris could easily clog your gutter and downspout. Overflowing gutters could further erode the foundation of your home, rot wood, and lead to pest infestation.
- Sweep away debris.
- Trim nearby trees to avoid leaves from clogging gutters.
- Use rust treatment to repair small leaks and rust spots.
- Apply plastic cement for gutter repairs to small holes.
Winterize Exterior Faucets and Hoses
When hoses are left outside in cold weather, the water inside them may expand as it freezes. This can damage the hose, destroy the faucet, or burst a pipe.
- Turn off the outdoor water shut-off valve.
- Drain garden hoses, and disconnect them from outdoor faucets.
- Drain the pipes.
Following preventive measures won’t cost you anything, but replacing damaged piping can cost you around $350 to $1,800.
Inspect Your Roof
A compromised roof during winter could be stressful for you, cold for the house, and heavy on your heating bill.
- Replace any loose, damaged, or missing shingles.
- Trim tree branches away to prevent damages to the roof surface.
- Watch out for signs of decayed roofing.
The goal is to prevent moisture from dripping onto the siding. Branches can compromise the strength of your siding by constantly brushing against it. They could further open cracks that pests may penetrate.
- During late fall, trim overgrown plants.
- Remove dead and infected branches.
- Keep limbs at least three feet from your house exterior.
Install Attic Insulation
Heat can easily escape when the attic isn’t sufficiently insulated, forcing your furnace to work harder.
- Add more insulation, or replace missing pieces.
- To test if your attic is sufficiently insulated, open all interior doors and vents. Then, walk through the house to check if certain areas are warmer or colder.
Installing blow-in insulation usually costs $900 to $1,900. But some states offer homeowner incentives to offset this cost. Moreover, adding attic insulation can help you save as much as $200 a year on your energy bill.
Cover Air Leaks
The little holes in the house that allow air to either enter or escape accounts for 30% to 40% of your home’s cooling and heat loss. Daft can also dampen and consequently damage your home insulation.
- To stop air from escaping, apply weather stripping or latex caulk to doors or windows.
- Replace weather stripping that’s peeling or coming off the frame.
Examine the Exterior
Pests usually start looking for a place to stay just before winter sets in. Check for crevices or holes in your house exterior where they might enter.
- Use heavy-duty hardware cloth to cover any gaps within ¼ inch wide.
- Check screens for tears, and repair.
- Use mesh to cover cracks on the wall.
- Use caulk to cover gaps in places where pipes enter.
You may follow through with the preventive measures by yourself. However, pest control ranges from $250 to $400.
Sweep Your Chimney
A well-functioning chimney prevents accidental fires and carbon monoxide from entering your home.
- Check that the damper is clear, and close it when not in use.
- Make sure that bricks and mortar in the firebox are complete and in good condition.
Keep Safety Devices Running
Winter is the season for blasting furnaces and tightly closing our homes. So, it’s important to keep handy smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.
- Check whether your safety devices are running on fresh batteries.
- Replace batteries as needed.
- Consider getting a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t already have one.
Installation of carbon monoxide detectors typically costs $10 to $165, which is an excellent investment for your safety.
It’s never too early to prepare for winter. Home maintenance saves you money, and a checklist is a great way for you to cover your objectives.
To save up for winter during the fall, check for areas around the house that need repairing. Install insulation, and seal holes to cut down on energy costs. Use preventive measures to avoid damages to and replacement of tools.
With your checklist complete, you are now set to welcome the winter season.