For some reason, spring cleaning gets all the attention. Maybe because it comes after the thaw of winter and homeowners feel energized to get their homes ready for the frenzy of summer. But what about the steps one takes in the autumn to prepare a home for the coming freeze? These are the steps that will ensure the warmth, safety and comfort of your home when the frigid temperatures inevitably come. Consider the following tips for preparing your home for the coming winter:
Check For Air Leaks
Make sure that your doors are properly sealed and insulated. You can check for air leaks by performing a simple smoke test with a lit candle or stick of incense. To begin, close all the doors and windows, and turn off anything that may be circulating air in your home (fans and vents). Take the lit candle or stick of incense and move it carefully around the frame of the door, trying your best to keep the flame vertical. If the flame or smoke moves horizontally toward the outside of your home or begins to flicker, there is likely an air leak. If this is the case, you may want to consider replacing your windows or doors.
If you’re looking to install a new door this fall in preparation for winter, consider fiberglass options. Fiberglass doors have four times the insulating value of wooden doors and are highly weather resistant.
For window replacement, look for energy efficient, Energy Star rated products, that have multiple panes, low emissivity glazing — which reflects heat back into your home — and insulated vinyl frames.
Test Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The winter season sees more house fires than any other. With the home closed tightly for the winter, the furnace working or fireplace roaring, it is important to take the time to ensure both the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working and have new, fully charged batteries. These simple steps can save lives. It may also be a good idea to book an HVAC inspection to look at the ventilation of your furnace and water heater as they can be sources of carbon monoxide leaks in the home.
Insulate your pipes
Purchase pre-slit pipe foam at the hardware store, cut it to size and set it in place around the pipe with duct tape. Look for insulation with the highest R-value, for greater insulating power. This can prevent the chance of your pipes freezing in cold weather.
Run ceiling fans in reverse
Most people only run fans counter-clockwise to cool down on hot days, but running a ceiling fan clockwise can help warm a space up. The fan forces the hot air that has risen to the ceiling back into the lower living space. This can cut your heating cost by as much as 10 percent.
Prepare for snow removal
It’s not a bad idea to dig those shovels out of storage before the first storm hits. Nobody likes to be empty-handed in a foot of snow.
Winter weather is full of surprises, and not all of them are pleasant. Taking these simple steps can help ensure that your home is safe and warm, no matter what kind of weather the seasons ends your way.