Well my friends, Its that time of the year again. Yes, the weather is lovely right now, but what lurks just around the corner is the dreadful COLD! Are you ready? More importantly, Is your home ready for this? Don’t worry, if your not, Its not too late.
Here are a few tips to get you ahead of the game:
1) HAVE YOUR FURNACE OR PELLET/WOOD STOVES CHECKED BY A PROFESSIONAL TECHNICIAN.
There are a few things you can do on your own, like change the filters, but its is best to call a professional to thoroughly check over your equipment to ensure it will endure through the winter. Plus, making an appointment as soon as possible will keep you from being number 50 on the list of clients when that below zero night causes your furnace to work overtime and shut down rendering you helpless. Be ahead of the game. Make the call. or better yet, click the link above for my personal recommendation of technicians.
2) CHECK YOU HOME FOR DRAFTS.
Every window, door and even electrical outlet, is a potential area for concern when it comes to draftiness. The caulking on the exterior of your windows and doors, depending on the quality and age, has the tendency to crack in the heat of the Summer sun.
If the flame bounces while being still, most likely that is being causes by airflow from the window or door. Be sure to caulk outside the window/door and, if necessary, the inside as well. Weather stopping may be used as well.
The electrical sockets on the exterior walls of your home pose another threat for heat loss.
Installing a foam insulator is an effective way to reduce air flow from electrical boxes.
Lastly, especially in older units, install all storm windows and storm doors to add to the extra insulation value to the unit.
3) REVERSE THE FLOW OF CEILING FANS
Your ceiling fan, if properly used, should be circulating the airflow from the ground up in the summer, pulling the cooler air -which falls to the floor- upwards. In the winter, they need to operate in reverse. There is a switch on the housing of the fan which controls which way the blades circulate. Make sure you have the blades circulating downward, or clockwise, to assist the warmer air to fall.
4) TURN OFF ALL EXTERIOR WATER SUPPLIES
On the exterior of your home you may, or at least should, have a water supply. To avoid freezing and possible pipes bursting, be sure to shut off the valve that leads to it. If you do not have a valve installed, call your trusted professional to install one for you.
Also, if you have an irrigation system in your lawn, make sure to bleed your lines free of water to keep them from freezing as well. Most irrigation systems are only a fews inches below ground. They will freeze! Again, if assistance is needed, contact your trusted professional.
5) TEST SUMP PUMPS
Be sure that your sump pumps are operating properly. Take a few gallons of water and fill the pit until the float reaches its desired height (what turns the pump on and off) and wait for the water to drain. If it fails to drain, or even operate for that matter, check all power supplies first. If that doesn’t solve the problem, call a professional.
6) CHECK YOUR CHIMNEY FOR DAMAGES AND HAVE IT CLEANED.
My recommendation is to hire the right chimney sweep company to ensure a job well done and a warranty that comes along with it. If this is not your desired route, and your not afraid of heights, then feel free, at your own discretion, to tackle this one on your own. Clean the chimney from the topside with a long wire brush removing the soot and solidified creosote build up. While on the roof, make sure the flue hood is properly attached along with looking at all the masonry components, checking for damages.
7) CHECKING YOUR ROOF
While your on the roof, you might as well check for any possible areas of damages. Look closely for lifted, torn or missing shingles. Check your valleys for any possible water penetration. When snow builds up, it often melts in these areas from the inside out due to the heat variances from the slightly warmer roof than the much colder outside temperatures. This melting water makes its way under the shingles without anywhere else to go and re-freezes. This is bad. It can soon find its way into the home causing major problems. Be sure to check all areas thoroughly to avoid this issue. Again, call a professional if you have any doubts.
8) CHECKING AND CLEANING THE GUTTERS AND DOWN SPOUTS
A good cleaning of all your gutters will ensure a smooth water flow from the melting snow. Be sure that the down spouts are free and clear of debris as well. Make sure the gutter has a sufficient slope downward to avoid water ponding and freezing. Another good idea is to extend your down spouts further away from the home using a corrugated piping.
9) GET A HOME ENERY AUDIT FOR YOUR HOME
Your electric company, among other independent contractors, can preform a home energy audit on your home. They will be able to inform you where your losing the most energy and for provide you with answers on how to regain this energy, saving you money.
10) CHECK ALL EXTERIOR HANDRAILS, STEPS, AND LIGHTING
Be sure to check all areas of your home where you may be walking on a cold icy night. Be sure that all handrails are secured tightened. Install proper lighting to help you see so you don’t slip on a possible ice patch. Check all steps for any hazards that would cause you to fall. For assistance with any repairs, be sure to call your trusted professional.
11) STOCK UP ON ALL NECESSARY WINTER SUPPLIES
Nobody likes to be unprepared when winter calls. Be sure to stock up on the essential items needed. Those item being:
- Batteries and flashlights
- Wood or Pellets for your stove
- Extra filters for the furnace
- Make sure the snow blower is in working order. If not seek professional help.
- Ice melting salts ( check out a previous blog for tips on selecting the right ice melt)
- Shovels and ice scrapers.
Now your ready to tackle the winter head on! Click below for a print out of our winterization checklist to assist you! Good luck to all!