Tips for preparing your house for winter
Cold weather presents new challenges for your home. And even if you live in an area with mild winters, being proactive can protect your house from any problems that could become expensive. Pick a Saturday afternoon and spend some time fixing up your home to get ready for the coming cold. Here are some of the best and most cost-effective steps to take:
Fill any cracks
Old windows or doors can let in cold air, and this can be a big problem for your home. Not only could this let in bugs and other animals seeking shelter from the elements, but it will undermine your home heating system. Over the course of the winter, you could end up shelling out lots of cash running your heat higher than you otherwise need to.
Caulk and other solutions are great for covering up cracks and other openings. Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore, the co-founders of Buttoned Up, told HGTV that storm windows, weather strips and other items can be used to effectively keep the cold out.
Lay down some insulation
The next way to make sure your home is cozy and inviting this winter is to spend some time insulating the attic, basement and other areas. This ensures that heat stays in the places you and your family actually spend time and keeps your utility bills reasonable.
Fiberglass insulation works well in the rafters of your attic or in the siding of your basement. But some homeowners may overlooked window film and similar tools that can further insulate a house. Like caulking, this limits the amount of heat that is lost through windows and doors.
Check out your heating system
Insulating your home is important, but if your heating system isn't working properly in the first place, your efforts can be all for naught. Make sure your heat pump or furnace is working properly and that air filters have been replaced.
"Make sure your heat pump or furnace is working properly."
Kiplinger found that neglecting to do this can quickly become a problem. Heating specialists get quite busy during the winter, and if you wait to book an appointment you could end up waiting for weeks.
By checking out your heating system early you can identify any problems quickly and avoid future issues. The same is true of your fireplace. Before winter sets in, investigate the flue and make sure everything is clean and in order.
Invest in an electric tankless water heater
Older systems can struggle in the winter, and your water heater may not be ready for the impending cold. Even if you're not at risk for frozen pipes and more serious problems, being without hot water on an icy winter morning can quickly ruin your day.
An electric tankless water heater is an elegant and efficient way to assure your home has endless hot water. This way you can relax with a warm shower even on the chilliest day of the year. Your family will not only benefit from reliable hot water, but your electric bill will also be lower each month.
Prepare the yard
Making sure your home is ready for winter may mean bundling up and putting in some yard work before the first snowfall. Clogged gutters and broken shingles, for example, can create ice dams that cause water to drip into your home. Anyone who has dealt with this will tell you that this is a frustrating and expensive problem to sort out.
Next, empty out any hoses or sprinkler systems completely and store them in the garage or shed. Because water expands when it freezes, sitting liquid could cause lots of damage to these items if you neglect to ready them for the winter.
It is also wise to clean up your yard before the cold weather sets in. This makes clearing snow and ice easier and is more healthy for your lawn overall. According to Kiplinger, one solution is to mow your leaves into small pieces. This needs to be done when they are dry, and you will want to create small, even sized pieces. Sprinkle this over your grass, and the bits of leaves will decompose and feed your lawn more quickly. Larger leaves may not break down in a single winter, and this serves as a natural fertilizer.