Parts of the U.S. are already seeing snow in their forecast, making it imperative that you get your house winter ready. Winter weather causes a lot of wear and tear on a home, most of which can be prevented with a few quick tweaks and fixes while the leaves are still falling from the trees:
1) Start by Sealing Any Leaks
Winter heating costs will skyrocket quickly if your home is prone to letting in the cold air. Use a candle and hold it to the frames of your windows and outside doors to check for any drafts blowing in. Electrical outlets and holes for plumbing entry are also common culprits of a leaky home. Replace worn weather stripping and door stops, fill leaks with caulking and extra insulation where necessary to make sure that you are getting the most benefit from your home's heating system, without having to remortgage your home to fund it.
2) Schedule Maintenance on Your Home's Heating System
You should schedule a maintenance visit with your local HVAC company. They'll change out the filters, clean the components and make sure that everything is running the way it should. This alone will save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a cold winter, especially if your home is being heated by an older system.
3) Protect Your Plumbing
Check to make sure that your outside faucets are completely drained, and that all hoses are free of water and rolled up for storage. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, it should be blown out by professionals to remove all traces of water left over during the summer. Do an inspection of the exposed plumbing in your home, and make any repairs now before the temperatures start to reach freezing.
4) Schedule a Chimney Sweep
If you rely on a fireplace to warm parts of your home in the winter, get it prepared by having it cleaned before you light the first fire. Not only will this make it more efficient, it will protect your home from a fire caused by build-up inside of the chimney.
5) Have Your Gutters Cleaned Out
Clogged gutters will cause a big mess, and possibly roof damage, if they are not clear when the temperatures start to freeze. This is a DIY job, but take care if you do it yourself to not fall off of your ladder. If clogged gutters are a persistent problem consider installing gutter guards on your home.
6) Stock up on Your Winter Weather Supplies
After a blizzard is not the time to realize that you have no gas in the snow blower. Make sure that you have a snow shovel that is in good shape, sidewalk salt or litter, and of course enough fuel for your snow blower before you need it. Stocking up on bottled water and non-perishable food is also a good idea if you live in an area where heavy snowfall is a common event.
7) Change out Your Bedding
Now is the time to switch from your summer bedclothes to that warm down comforter. By changing to heavier blankets in the winter, you can turn down the thermostat at night, saving you money on your home heating bills.
There is a lot to do before winter steps in, and you should give yourself some time to get these things done. Make a schedule that spans out over the next few weekends, and your home will be nice and toasty inside when the temperature starts to drop outside.
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