Now that the temperatures are quickly dropping, it’s time to make sure your home is ready for the cold winter months. If you take care of a few simple yet invaluable tasks now to winterize your home, you won’t have to worry about being on a long waiting list for repairs in the midst of a blizzard or cold spell!
Some of these steps include making sure the heater is in tip-top shape, windows and doors close tight against drafts, gutters are clear of leaves, water to the outside is turned off, and your sump pumps are in working order. You can perform some of these steps yourself and/or hire a contractor, and in the process help lower your utility bills, stay safe and comfortable when it’s frigid outside, and protect the investments you have already made in your house.
Tune Up Your Heating System
Think about your heater the same way you think about your car: if you don’t perform routine maintenance, it won’t last as long as it should. You wouldn’t purposely put 100,000 miles on a car without an oil change or alignment, so your heating system – with its many moving parts – shouldn’t have to wait years for a tune-up either.
A tune-up will add to the longevity of your system, and you’ll save energy by fixing any issues so that the heater runs efficiently. Based on the recommendations of the furnace manufacturers, here is a partial list of some of tasks that may be performed during a tune-up by a qualified technician:
- The heat exchanger needs to be inspected for rust and corrosion.
- The vent system needs to be checked for blockage and/or leakage.
- The burners need to be checked for proper ignition, burner flame and flame sense.
- The blower access door needs to be checked to make sure it makes a tight seal at the furnace.
- Replace the filter and any worn out parts.
- Restart your system before leaving to check that the heater is working.
The ideal time to have your heating system inspected is in the fall. It’s a much better option than waiting until it’s below freezing and the heat has to be turned off for the checkup.
A heater tune-up is one of the key steps to winterize your home – it helps keep your family healthy by cleaning filters, making sure harmful gases like carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur are vented to the outside, and saving you money by keeping your system running as efficiently as possible. Cost also becomes a factor when a heater breaks down in the middle of a cold snap — not to mention having to deal with emergency repairs and an uncomfortably cold house for days or longer.
Winterize Your Home by Preventing Ice Dams
Your house might look seasonally decorated if there are icicles hanging from the gutters, but this is a potential disaster in the making. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams which can cause water to back up into your house, damaging your roofing, siding, and trim.
A contractor can check to make sure the insulation in your attic is sufficient. If your attic isn’t insulated properly and is too warm, it melts the snow that is on your roof, which then runs into your gutter. Once in the gutter water freezes and then forms an ice dam. If necessary, a contractor can add insulation to your attic and also identify and fix any air leakages.
Hiring someone to clean your gutters is a smart move – and it’s far cheaper than repairing water damage in the house!
Caulk Around Windows and Doors to Winterize Your Home
Got a nickel? It won’t pay your heating bill, but it will help you determine whether you need to caulk or re-caulk. If the gaps between your window and door frames and the siding are more than the width of a nickel’s edge, you need to caulk or replace your current caulking.
Silicone caulk is best for the exterior of your home because it doesn’t shrink and won’t deteriorate. Window panes leaking air need a good window putty to stop the drafts. You should not see daylight coming through around the door frames. If you do, weatherstripping is the remedy.
Divert Water, Turn Off Faucets, and Test That Sump!
Home improvement experts recommend extending your downspouts so that they are 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation of your home. This is a simple fix at less than $10 per downspout and can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs to your foundation from water damage.
Water frozen in outdoor faucets can expand and break the pipes. To guard against this, drain the water from the outdoor faucets and disconnect hoses. If your home is more than 15 years old, it probably doesn’t have frost-proof faucets, which means you will have to locate the indoor valve and turn it off from inside your house.
If your home has sump pumps, you should check them regularly, not just in the winter. Your typical sump pump runs well for 10 years. By checking it now, you won’t have to worry about a wet basement and the resulting water damage. Pour several gallons of water into the sump pit and watch to make sure the pump turns on and call the repairman immediately if there’s a problem. It’s also a good idea to have a battery backup on your sump pump in case the power goes out during a storm.
Consider the Best Contractor for Additions, New Construction and Remodeling
Preparing your home for the cold winter months is something every home owner should take seriously. It’s important to protect your investment and help prevent problems with your heating system and keep water damage from occurring.
Once you have taken these important steps to winterize your home, you may find yourself thinking about remodeling or adding an addition to your house. Mancill Builders has delivered finished products to their customers with the highest level of quality and craftsmanship for the past 40 years. A trusted and dependable contractor in Delaware County, Alan Mancill is your local home improvement expert. He’ll make sure the expectations of your home remodel, addition, and/or new home are clear from the start and that you are completely satisfied at the end of the project.
Call Mancill Builders at 610-566-5128 to discuss your home remodel project and to set up a meeting. Alan Mancill will help you make your renovation dreams a reality!