The first wave of cold weather is starting to hit the United States, which means that it’s vital for you to take time and prepare your home for this change in temperature. You want your family to stay warm and safe during winter, and that starts with thinking ahead.
Here are the top steps you need to take in order to prepare your house for fall and winter.
Inspect Your Home’s HVAC System
Fall is the best season to have your HVAC system inspected. You’re just finishing up blasting your AC unit and you’re ready to start using your heating system for the first time since last season. Now’s the time to check-in and ensure everything is working well.
HVAC companies get extremely busy during snowstorms and freezes when people realize that their systems aren’t working. Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Be sure to look into a furnace guide to figure out how often you should be scheduling maintenance and inspections. As a bonus, you will probably find some good strategies to save money on your heating bills!
Not only will you feel more prepared to take on the winter temperatures after an inspection, but you’ll also prevent HVAC emergencies like breakdowns and failures. Inspections also help to make sure that the air filters are clean and not contributing to any winter breathing problems in your family.
Calculate the cost of your HVAC installation with our free estimator tool.
Seal Up Any Cracks or Holes
Air leaks in your house can raise your home energy bills by as much as 30 percent, especially when you’re blasting the heat to combat the cold outside. Your expensive hot air is escaping and cold air is working its way inside, forcing the HVAC system to work double-time to maintain the perfect temperature.
Inspect common areas like underneath the sinks and around windows for any cracks, and look for holes in your insulation in the attic.
Calculate the cost of your window replacement process with our free estimator tool.
To seal up any small cracks, holes, or leaks, you should be able to use putty and cover the fix up with some paint. For more extensive problems, you may need to consult a handyman for more significant patches.
Keep in mind that the older your house is; the more precautions you’ll need to take against leaks. Consider checking the light switches for looseness and maybe even examine all of your outlets.
One of the places to insulate at your home can be the crawl space beneath it. Take a look at our complete guide to get it done.
Clean Your Chimney and Prepare for Fires
Over the summer, obstructions might have formed in your chimney. Perhaps birds built a nest or raccoons dragged in debris, or maybe tree branches have become wedged inside. Now’s the time to remove these barriers before you use your fireplace.
Even if there aren’t any noticeable blockages, here are some signs that you need to schedule a thorough chimney cleaning:
- The fires seem to burn poorly.
- There’s a strong odor coming from the fireplace/chimney.
- There are greasy black spots and soot in the fireplace.
- Smoke seems to build up in the chimney.
Additionally, you should look over your chimney at least once a year to find any hidden damage or structural problems. Fireplaces and stoves are two of the leading sources of house fires in America, so you can never be too cautious about paying attention before you start using your fireplace frequently.
Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Speaking of fires, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that December and January are the peak months for blazes – according to the American Red Cross. Rates of fires have been steadily increasing, so it’s up to you to take precautions ahead of time to prevent fires in your own home.
Start by testing your smoke detector. Make sure that the detector has fresh batteries installed and that it is working properly. To do so, hold the “test” button and listen for the ear-piercing sire that should emanate. If the sound is weak or quiet, you need to replace the batteries.
Additionally, take a look at your carbon monoxide detector. By simply pressing the “test” button the detector will tell you if you should replace the batteries in the device.
Clean Your Gutters Out
Let’s be honest – it’s probably been too long since you’ve cleaned all of the debris out of your gutters. With leaves falling and changing, they may even be more cluttered than ever.
Not only can clogged gutters cause problems with your roofing, but during the winter, it can actually lead to foundational problems underneath your house. Gutters keep rainwater from eroding the soil next to your house or seeping into the foundation where cracks can grow. If they’re blocked, you can experience serious problems that cost thousands to fix.
Don’t let the cold weather, dead leaves, and ice put extra strain on your gutters. Give them a thorough clean-out before temperatures plummet to protect your home’s foundation and structure.
Your home might seem prepared for winter, but without some attention and maintenance, you can run into serious problems once temperatures begin to drop.
Think ahead to prepare for every scenario, including broken heating systems, foundation issues, and high utility bills. These tasks might seem like a hassle now, but they can be lifesavers in the long run.
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