How to get your Home Winter Ready
As the autumn leaves start to change color and fall, it’s time to start thinking about preparing for winter. Although we may not get as much snow as other areas in the United States, we still have to get ready for the cold and prepare our homes to keep us toasty and dry during the winter. Here are some things to think about how to get your home winter ready. Bayshore can help make sure the exterior of your house is ready to embrace the cold!
Check the HVAC
A big ticket item on the list of how to get your home winter ready is the HVAC. The lifespan of an HVAC system averages about 12 to 15 years, but that number can vary a lot, depending on how well it is maintained. A system that is well-cared for could last up to 20 years. Fall is the perfect time to give your system an annual check-up. At the very least you should change the filters, but for more in-depth maintenance, you can have your system inspected by an HVAC company. Many offer annual maintenance packages that will help extend the life of your HVAC. Now is a good time to check for issues because temperatures are still relatively mild. There is nothing worse than waking up on one of the coldest days of the year to discover that your heating has gone out. Having an HVAC inspection will also check to see that your HVAC and water heater are both properly vented, which is the culprit in most carbon monoxide leaks. Preventative maintenance is sure to save you money and stress so take care of it now, before it becomes a real problem.
Give the exterior some TLC
Before cold weather sets in, make some time to do a thorough examination of the exterior of your home. Now is a good time to re-paint the outside of your home because colder temperatures don’t allow paint to dry properly and a new layer of paint will help your home deal with the battering of winter wind and freezing rain. Check to see if any areas need to be re-caulked or any cracks sealed. This will help keep your home cozy in the cooler weather and save you money on your heating bill. Areas that are not properly sealed by paint or caulk, especially trim around windows can rot and be an expensive repair. It is much easier to maintain your home than to make a costly repair. Another exterior area that will require attention is any concrete or asphalt that you have outside your home, such as a patio, sidewalk, or driveway. When water gets inside small cracks and freezes, it expands and a small crevice can easily become much larger. Before sealing the surface, make sure you fill in any cracks that you see to prevent water from seeping in.
Proper Drainage and Clean Gutters
Making sure that your home is properly draining water is vital to the stability of your foundation. A large part of how to get your home winter ready deals with the exterior of your home. If water is not draining away from the foundation, it seeps into the ground and pools around the foundation. Freezing temperatures causes the water to expand and push into the foundation, and that can lead to a lot of damage and a really big and pricey repair. The easiest way to stop this from happening is through simple prevention. Walk around the outside of your home and look for low spots. Simply fill these with soil to create an even surface all the way around the perimeter of your home. The next step is to make sure that your gutters are all clean and draining properly. If gutters become clogged, water will spill over the sides and fall around the foundation. Clean gutters allow water to flow down the spout and land away from the foundation. If your gutters are draining too near the house, purchase a few downspout extenders and the problem should be taken care of.
If your home has a chimney, it is vital that you maintain it. Not only can a chimney become a fire hazard, it can also jeopardize the structural integrity of your home. The easiest thing to do is to have a chimney sweep come out once a year. Fall is the best time because you can have them inspect and clean the chimney just before you start using the fireplace. By making an annual appointment with the chimney sweep, you can tick that off the list of things to do. Don’t forget to stock up on firewood!
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Another important aspect of how to get your home winter ready, that should not be overlooked, involves your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Maintaining your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is always important, but even more so with winter on it’s way. We keep our windows and doors closed tight to stay cozy, trapping in any air and making carbon monoxide a bigger issue. With furnaces and fireplaces going to keep homes warm, fires are much more likely to happen. Check to ensure that your detectors all have good, working batteries. Having an HVAC inspection will also check to see that your HVAC and water heater are both properly vented, which is the culprit in most carbon monoxide leak.
Decks and Exterior Furniture
Making sure that your outdoor areas are properly taken care of will extend their life. If you have a deck or outdoor wooden structures, check to see if there is any area that looks worn or in need of a coat of sealant. This creates a seal against water and helps prevent weathering. Outdoor furniture should either be stored inside or have a water-proof cover. These little steps will make your outdoor areas usable season after season. If you don’t have an outdoor living area, fall is a great time to install one. There is nothing quite like having your own firepit to enjoy those crisp fall evenings, and Bayshore Remodeling can help create an outdoor space just for you.
Energy audits can be completed at any time of the year, but they are most effective in the spring or the fall, in preparation for summer and winter. During the hottest and coldest parts of the year is when we use the most energy to cool and heat our homes. Energy audits allow you to see if there are any major leaks in your home where air can escape. When air finds a crack, it’s like pouring dollar bills out the window. An energy audit can be the start of how to get your home winter ready. You can complete an energy efficiency checklist on your own or hire someone to do a more complete inspection. Many energy companies will offer discounts if you have an audit completed. Here is a link to the Government Energy website on how to do your own energy inspection. https://www.energy.gov/eere/femp/home-energy-checklist.
For more information on how to get your home winter ready, check out https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/make-your-home-winter-ready