It’s the time of year we start anticipating snow and dropping temperatures. Every year, we like to remind our clients about some simple housekeeping tips to prepare your home for winter. Below are a few suggestions for you as we enter into the colder time of year.
Remove hose from spigot. We remind our clients of this every year, but the importance cannot be overstated. When hoses are attached and freezing temperatures occur, frozen water can expand and crack the faucet or pipes. In fact, turning off exterior faucets completely, and draining any water from outside pipes and valves would be beneficial. Also, Turn Off Outside Sprinklers. Now that you won’t need to water grass and lawns, be sure to take this step.
Clean gutters: As leaves drop this fall, keep gutters free of debris. By allowing water to flow through the gutters, you minimize the potential for ice to build up. Gutters are important to keep the flow of water away from the foundation of the home.
Prepare your Chimney: Be sure your chimney is safe and ready for use. A professional chimney sweeper can sweep it to remove soot and debris. It is also important to check for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. By placing a cap on the chimney, you can prevent animals and debris from entering.
Change furnace filters: Energy Star recommends checking your air filter every month, and changing filters at a minimum of every 3 months. If filters get dirty, they slow air flow and cause the furnace to work harder (https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac). They also recommend sealing and insulating heating and cooling ducts to improve efficiency.
Change Ceiling Fan Direction: If you move a ceiling fan to the clockwise direction, hot air will push toward the floor. This is an efficient and free way to maximize heat if you have a ceiling fan!
Other items to consider for winter preparation include: a furnace tune-up, installing a programmable thermostat, and Weatherstrip tape. It’s important to make an effort at the front end of the season to save time and money. Here are a couple of helpful articles: https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/11-ways-to-winterize-your-home-on-a-budget-10169#weatherstripping, https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/planting-and-maintenance/winter-gutter-maintenance, https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/10-steps-to-readying-your-fireplace-for-winter-48090#chimney-flue-cap-and-damper).