Preparing for the cold winter months is exciting for many people. Pulling out the holiday decorations, moving your cozy sweaters to the front of your wardrobe and who can deny the irresistible sent of cinnamon and pumpkin in the air? Even if this isn’t your favorite season, don’t forget the most important preparation of all- Making your home ready for that first winter snap!
Strategy for saving:
Not only are you protecting your home from possible costly damages, following these tips you can save money by reducing your electric usage during those brutally cold months. Organizing your home for winter can seem like an annoying and possibly unnecessary task however the financial benefits far outweigh the minor inconvenience. Winter heating can sky rocket utility bills especially if windows are poorly insulated. Other seasonal setbacks can include burst plumbing lines, foundation cracking, roof leaks, and expensive heating system breakdowns. The sustained low temperatures, combined with cold winds and winter precipitation, can cause problems for the interior and exterior of your home.
You can prevent these expenses and ensure a healthy & happy holiday season for your home! Here’s how...
Doors and Windows:
- Check weather stripping around windows and door frames for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace as necessary
- Replace screen doors with storm doors
- Check for drafts around windows, caulk inside and out where necessary.
- Ensure windows do not have cracks, broken glass or gaps. Repair or replace as needed.
Heating, Ventilating and Ducts:
- Clean or replace air filters.
- Make sure ceiling fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise setting. This will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency.
- Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement and crawl spaces. Use a sealant to correct any leaks.
- Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
- Have a professional preform a routine check up on your heating system.
- Remove any window air conditioning units or cover them with insulated liners to prevent drafts.
Roof, Gutters, and Drains:
-Check roof for damaged, missing or warped shingles and replace as necessary to avoid leaks. This is particularly important if your region experiences snow. Roof leaks occur most frequently in winter months when heavy snow gathers and melts on the structure.
- Trim overgrown branches back away from the home to prevent iced-over or wind swept branches from falling and causing major property damages.
- Remove any attached hoses and store them away. Shut off and cover exterior faucets with insulated housing. If possible drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
- Have sprinkler system winterized to prevent pipe rupture.
- Clean gutters of any debris. Check for proper fastening and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off a home.
- Clean the pool of leaves and other debris. Use your pool vacuum or fish everything out using a net. Be sure to clean out the skimmer and pump basket too.
- Clean the tile line with cleaner. Much easier now than in the spring when the scum has had all winter to set.
- Balance water chemistry to prevent scale build up and corrosion using a PH kit. If you want to add a winterization chemical kit, this is the time to do it. These kits put high levels of chlorine and algaecide in the water to prepare it for the winter months ahead. Local pool retailers offer ready-made kits for this purpose. Be sure to use according to the maker's directions, in some cases supplemental treatments may be encouraged depending on the type of pool you have.
- Prevent dreaded freezing by draining the water down below the skimmer mouth. DO NOT EMPTY THE POOL! Soil expansion due to freezing can jack the pool right out of the ground. Leaving some water maintains enough weight to keep the pool structure in place.
For more information on winterizing your pool please check out Pentair Pool's winterizing tips.
Break it down:
Looking at a huge to-do list is daunting. To save frustrations break it down into two or three jobs that you can work on over the next few weekends. You can even make this a family event! Divide and conquer by assigning each person an area to inspect and report back on.
Here's to a joyful and blessed holiday season,
Tiffany Merlene Buescher
Passionate DFW Real Estate Expert and Certified Military Residential Specialist- Evolve Realty