You may be ready for winter mentally, but your home may need some preparations and sprucing up so that you can feel warm and cozy as the weather cools down. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some critical preparations so that your home is ready for the winter.
1. Insulate Your Pipes
When the winter temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it can cause the water in any exposed pipes to freeze, eventually expanding and bursting due to the immense pressure. This will ultimately lead to a slew of repair costs or replacements to restore the pipes. The good news is that you can avert these events by insulating all exposed pipes within your house.
2. Inspect Tree Branches
Any tree branches growing over your house, power lines, or garage need to be trimmed down. This is essential in ensuring they don’t come down during a storm and cause severe damage to your home. Scan your property for any branches that are rubbing together. Look for dead limbs, too. Any over-hanging limbs can lead to excess water seeping into the cracks within your roofing and cause extensive damage. Additionally, inspect around the house for any tree that is seemingly weak and leaning in the direction of your home.
3. Clean the Gutters
The gutter system is often filled with debris or leaves when left unchecked. These hold any flowing water and freeze to form a big, icy mass that can get under the shingles and cause damages to the roof. Similarly, when left ignored, the frozen water and leaves mixture can overwhelm the gutters and eventually collapse as the winter weather persists.
You should check the gutters to ensure they aren’t sagging. If need be, tighten or replace any downspout brackets and gutter hangers that seem out of place. While you’re at it, ensure the downspouts extend at least five feet from the house to prevent any foundation problems. The water should flow away from and not toward the house.
4. Insulate Windows
Winter drafts can be a menace and can lead to an upsurge in your energy bills. Furthermore, if your windows have air leaks, that can make your interior uncomfortable due to heat loss. Reducing drafts within your home will significantly lower your energy costs by up to 20% per year.
There are several quick ways to insulate your windows, such as using a V-seal weather strip. The strip is ideal for any narrow gaps or cracks, and it has a built-in hinge that allows it to compress and fill the gaps around your window, sealing out drafts, dust, and water.
You can also insulate your windows using shrink wrap. The insulation kit comes with a double-sided adhesive that you need to apply on all sides of the window. Next, put the shrink-wrap on the adhesive. Start at the top of your window, and work your way down. When done, use a hairdryer to heat the shrink wrap until all the wrinkles are gone. The shrink wrap shrinks tightly when heated, sealing off drafts and holding an insulating air buffer in place.
5. Drain Sprinklers
It is crucial to drain any residual water from outdoor sprinkler systems before the initial freezing occurs to prevent the water from expanding and cracking the pipes. The best practice is to bring on board an irrigation contractor to push out the water using compressed air. The process can also be done by turning off the water source and opening the drain valve located in the basement of the sprinkler system, which allows the water to drain.
6. Have the Furnace Checked
Make sure your furnace system is in its best condition before the winter. Maintain your furnace regularly and ensure repairs are done in good time. Regular maintenance prevents surprise breakdowns from happening at the heart of the winter season.
Therefore, schedule furnace services from reliable heating contractors, and they will pull apart your burners and carry out a thorough inspection of the contacts and sensors. If need be, they will replace the filters. It’s wise to have the furnace filter inspected monthly and replaced whenever it turns black or brown. You should also use the pleated version, which has a larger surface area for trapping particles. Similarly, if you have an older thermostat, you should consider upgrading to a programmable one to achieve more efficiency and save on heating costs.
7. Clean the Fireplace
If you use a wood-burning fireplace around six times within the year in your home, have it inspected by a certified chimney sweep. The inspection of your fireplace needs to be carried out on both the inside and outside of your home.
On the outside, your chimney’s cap should be intact, and there shouldn’t be any birds nests or debris buildup at the cap. On the inside of your home, ensure the flue damper opens, closes, and seals properly. Also, ensure there aren’t any combustible materials such as animal nests in the flue. The fireplace hearth and firebox shouldn’t have any cracks or missing mortar.
The certified chimney sweep helps to eliminate creosote and soot, which can ignite. If you hardly use the fireplace or have the gas type, then inspection can be done every three years and should be sufficient.
8. Check Your Safety Devices
Since the winter season involves a lot of heating in your home, it’s vital to check the status of your safety devices, such as smoke detectors, to ensure they’re working correctly. You can request maintenance services from an expert company to be sure. If need be, replace the batteries as you get ready for the long, cold months ahead.
9. Have Your Boiler Serviced
A broken-down boiler at the heart of winter can have devastating effects on your household. Many homeowners assume their boiler doesn’t require checking until it breaks down. Ideally, you should have your boiler checked once a year, particularly during the onset of winter. At the peak of winter, a broken boiler can lead to your pipes freezing and bursting.
10. Bleed Your Radiator
After months of active action, your radiator tends to be cold at the top and hot at the bottom, meaning it needs bleeding. For optimal efficiency, it’s best to bleed the radiator as you transition into the winter.
Ensuring the heating system within your home is working efficiently requires the skills of experts such as those at Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We proudly offer impeccable solutions for residents of Tucson and the surrounding areas. You can rely on us for comprehensive heating, cooling, and plumbing services, as well as duct cleaning, repair, and indoor air quality solutions. We are dedicated to maintaining our availability during the winter season. Contact Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today for more information.