How to Make Your Home Winter-Ready
As the days begin to get shorter and the temperature starts to get colder, it's always a great idea to start thinking about what you need to do to protect your home during winter. Regardless of whether you live in an apartment or own your home, getting it ready for winter can help ensure you stay cozy and safe during the cold winter months. Getting your place winter-ready can also save you from massive heating and repair costs. Ward off those winter blues and make your space as inviting as possible by keeping the following tips in mind:
The last thing you want in the dead of winter is a malfunctioning central heating system. That said, aside from ensuring you adhere to a routine heating system maintenance schedule, make sure your boiler is serviced accordingly before winter kicks in.
Have a qualified engineer perform routine inspections and troubleshoot any problems with your central heating system as soon as possible so you won't have unexpected breakdowns.
Turn your furnace so you can assess if it's working. You also need to check if your air filters need to be changed. Most experts recommend changing the air filters every two to three months to ensure the furnace stays efficient.
It is also a good idea to ensure no furniture is blocking your heat vents at home. Also, adjust your thermostat to an energy-efficient setting. Generally, 22°C is ideal during the day, while 17°C to 19°C is recommended at night.
If you are leaving your home to escape the winter, you shouldn't turn your heater off. Just turn down the heat to at least 10°C. Otherwise, your water pipes might freeze and burst, and you'll come home to a flooded basement.
During fall, dirt and leaves can accumulate in your roof's downspouts and eavestroughs. The leaves and dirt can block melting snow and ice and prevent water from draining correctly. This can also cause costly damage to your roof. Ideally, you need to clean all the dirt, leaves, and other debris out before winter starts.
If you have a garden, ensure you also protect your plants from the extreme cold. Check with a gardener at your local supply store for suggestions on how you can wrap your shrubs and provide ample protection. Ensure you also turn off your drain and exterior hoses as they can burst if there's water left in them.
Winter is the time when most house fires occur. This is not exactly surprising as this is the time when most people are blasting their furnaces and building fires. And since homes are likely closed up tight, carbon monoxide can also become a more significant hazard.
It is therefore a good idea to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they have good batteries and are working accordingly.
Leaks and gaps on windows and doors are the most significant sources of cold air inside your home. Gaps and leaks can also cause heating to escape resulting in bigger energy bills. Aside from putting your hands near openings to check for drafts, you can also do the following:
● Visual inspection. Check if light seeps out of the edges of your doors and windows. When there's a leak, you can see the light seeping in. Try rattling your doors and windows. Movement can also mean there's a possible air leak. Check the caulking or weatherstripping around your windows from outside. If they are cracking, it is time to either have them fixed or replaced.
● Use the incense or candle test. Turn off all furnaces, fans, or heaters and close doors and windows. Turn on your bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents. Hold a candle or a lit incense near the spaces around your doors and windows. If you can see the smoke swirling or moving, then you have a leak to take care of.
● Invest in professional help. If you suspect there are more leak sources in your house (i.e., electrical and gas service entrances, cable TV or phone lines, attic hatches, etc.), get in touch with a licensed home inspector. If you live in an apartment, make sure you inform your building manager or landlord.
At times, repairing leaks will only require weatherstripping or re-caulking the doors and windows or using pre-cut foam pads to seal the gaps effectively. Also, from the extent of the leak, you can gauge if you can take care of the repairs yourself, or you'll need a professional to take care of it for you.
Regardless if you live in your own home or an apartment, you must prepare accordingly so you'll have a comfortable, safe, and worry-free winter.
About the author
Sara Olsen is the Content Marketing Manager of Emergency Air, Arizona’s premier HVAC repair and service company with NATE-certified technicians and the best HVAC service in the quickest time. When not writing articles, she makes the most of her time with her family and gives back to the community.