What Are Some Common Home “Prep Steps” for the Winter?
When winter weather arrives, expect the temperature to drop and snow to fall. A home could provide residents with comfort and protection even during the harshest winters, provided the house is in shape to do so. Homeowners may wish to consider ways to prep the property for the coming cold season. Taking such steps could improve safety and contribute to better comfort. Often, the various steps to prepare a home for the winter season require little effort or cost.
Caulk and Seal Windows
Poor insulation could allow hot air to leave the inside while allowing cold air to enter. Often, problems with window caulking could cause such troubles. Caulking the windows may address some issues, but caulking won’t help much when windows suffer from cracks. Replacing damaged windows might turn into a money and energy saver for a homeowner.
Also, there are insulation kits available at home improvement stores that might help. These kits involve placing plastic coverings over the windows and sealing them in place. Such insulation kits might be helpful in attics or rooms not used regularly.
Explore Other Areas Known for Poor Insulation
Problems with door frames or an uneven door threshold may cause hot air to escape. Requesting some essential home improvement work to address these deficiencies could preserve energy and reduce waste.
If the door and windows are woefully inadequate for keeping a home insulated, it might be worthwhile to replace them. Installing new windows or doors designed for better efficiency may cut down energy bills winter after winter.
Cover Exterior Faucets
Pipes could burst in the winter when the temperature drops below freezing. Homeowners wisely take steps to protect their interior pipes from such a disaster, but they may neglect outside faucets. An exterior faucet could allow cold air to enter the pipes, causing the water to freeze and the pipes to burst. Shutting off the valves connected to such faucets addresses part of the problem, but cold air may travel into the open faucet. Placing a special cover over the faucet may present a buffer for the air, cutting down on the chances of a disaster.
Check on the Furnace
If a furnace fails during a cold spell, many disastrous problems could occur. The above-mentioned frozen pipes catastrophe might happen, and other troubles might arise. When a furnace doesn’t work properly, comfort levels inside the home may drop. Or, the furnace may need to work harder to overcome efficiency problems. The harder the furnace works, the more energy it expends. That drives up monthly bills.
The lifespan might decrease when the furnace works too hard to compensate for worn parts, dirty filters, and other issues. Overworking a furnace is not suitable for the system’s health.
Before winter arrives, having a furnace inspection performed seems beneficial. The examination may uncover problems unknown to the homeowner. Once discovered, a technician may perform a long-overdue repair.
Sometimes, a “mere” cleaning could help the system dramatically. A dirty furnace could display many issues a thorough cleaning might address.
Dallas-area residents can call Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces for heating and air conditioning services. Our team may run a performance audit you wish.
Deal With the Fireplace
Not all homeowners have a fireplace and connected chimney, and those who do need to stay on top of maintenance. Making sure the chimney cap hasn’t suffered any damage and is free of debris helps the cause. The bricks could require repairs, so getting on top of that maintenance may be advisable.
A thorough cleaning might be good for the fireplace and chimney. Perhaps having a safety inspection performed may prevent hazards.
Have a Roof Inspection Performed
Problems with the roof could develop during the summer or spring, but the issues might not reveal themselves until the winter. For example, if the roof suffers from loose shingles or nails or has holes somewhere, leaks may occur when the roof ends up covered with snow. As the snow and ice melt, water may enter the home. Mold and wood rot could result when the roof and connecting frame suffer from water exposure. In time, the roof may collapse, leading to potentially disastrous consequences.
Discovering these problems and performing necessary fixes before the damage becomes extensive seems like the better plan. And remember, snow and ice collecting on the roof adds significant weight. If the structure already suffers from water damage, the roof might not support the weight. One heavy snowstorm might cause a collapse.
Update the Thermostat
One reason homeowners experience high bills from wasted energy is due to relying on an outdated thermostat. Modern “smart thermostats” allow homeowners to pre-program settings, making it possible to reduce energy expenditures when no one is home. Cutting down on energy use might reduce household costs significantly.
Smart thermostats typically work with a smartphone app, allowing you to make adjustments remotely, as well. The traditional alternative, keeping a home at the same temperature while working or otherwise away from the house, might be a costly strategy. Upgrading to a smart thermostat could make winter less expensive than the season usually is.
You could also take things further by setting up a zoned thermostat system in the home. This expansive setup would direct more heated air to zones needing it and less to those zones that don’t.
Think About Other Miscellaneous Steps
Winter brings several responsibilities, but the season alleviates other duties. Mowing the lawn is hardly done in the dead of winter. Why not take steps to winterize and store a lawnmower? Taking such steps might preserve the lawnmower’s condition and keep it ready for spring use. The same steps might apply to other tools that don’t get much use during the winter months.
When inspecting and repairing the roof, that might be a good time to check the gutters. Cleaning the gutters could prevent problems, such as leaks, from happening during the cold spells.
Another issue of concern would be ice buildups. Clogged downspouts and gutters could cause water to collect. When the temperature goes below freezing, water and trapped snow might turn into solid blocks of ice. The gutters and downspouts may be unable to handle the weight and break apart. Besides needing to repair these things, homeowners may have to fix whatever they land on, such as the parked family car. Or worse, the ice, debris, gutter, or downspout might hit someone, causing injuries.
Maybe the end of fall seems like a good time to check on things you might need in the winter. Does the backup generator work? If not, replacing it long before a power outage on a freezing night would be a good idea.
We launched our company in 2003, and our team can assist with HVAC services, your fireplace needs, and indoor air quality work. Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces earned an A+ rating for our HVAC services, and we await your call. Contact our offices in Farmers Branch, TX, to schedule an appointment and receive an estimate.