The long warm nights of summer are long gone. No need to worry about air conditioning and mosquito bites. The coming of winter, however, means your home needs a different kind of attention. It’s time to prepare your house for the cold weather, in order to avoid costly repairs or major accidents. Just like your car, when regular maintenance is neglected it often causes bigger and more expensive problems later. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Keep Winter Out
Don’t leave repairs for the last minute. Instead, start early. One of the things you can look for is the insulation on your windows in order to ensure that the cold winter air is not coming in. According to the Huffington Post, replacing your windows and making sure they are insulated properly can save you big money in the long run.
If cold air is sneaking through leaks in your doors or windows, there is not much use in having a good working heating system. As Popular Mechanics magazine advises, first you locate any leaks in the house. Make sure to add or replace worn weather stripping around the doors. Use caulk around any gaps in windows, doors, or cracks in the wall. You also want to look for leaks in your air ducts.
Another aspect to consider are your pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and cause major destruction to your home, including flooding. There are a few things you can do to to keep your pipes from freezing. The Balance suggests using heating tape and extra insulation. If you have exposed pipes in basements or attics you fit them with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves in order to provide extra protection.
Preparing your furnace is an important part of winterizing your home. Family Handyman magazine cautions against clogged air filters. This can cause your furnace to shut off or stop working. This is a common problem that can be avoided by regular maintenance. You can even install an air filter gauge to help monitor when the system needs a change.
Checking Smoke Detectors
According to the Red Cross, home fires tend to increase in the winter. The Boston Globe recommends changing your smoke alarm at last every ten years, but it is important to check it frequently in case it stops working. One way to properly check your smoke alarm is to hold a match underneath it. People often make the mistake of simply pressing the button, but this only checks whether the alarm and/or battery is working, not if the device is actually functioning.
Just like your smoke alarm, you also want to make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working. One way to effectively test your CO2 detector is by exposing it to carbon monoxide and seeing if it reacts.
- Control your thermostat when you are at work or not at home. According to Business Insider, by turning down your thermostat by 10-15 degrees for eight hours a day, you can save 10 percent per year on energy bills.
- Clean out gutters so that snow and rain can flow freely and prevent it from dripping into the house.
- Make sure you know how to shut the water off in case pipes do freeze.
Following some of these general guidelines does not only help protect you from winter cold, but it protects your house from damage and costly repairs. Get your house ready for those winter days and save yourself the hassle of an accident.
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