Friday, November 11, 2011

Weatherize Your Home for Winter


Last winter, we got some of the worst winter weather the country had seen in a while. The snow and cold were almost unbearable and another cold and snowy winter is sure to come again this year. Advance preparations can save money, energy, increase safety and allow for an easy transition into the winter months. Here are some great tips to check into before winter hits.

  • Winterize to Keep Your Home Energy-Tight
    • Use caulk on your home's exterior to seal out moisture and outside air; at the same time, it helps keep heat indoors. Caulk creates a tight moisture barrier which prevents rain and snow from seeping into gaps and joints, causing wood to rot and paint to blister.
    • Place a dollar bill between the door and the jamb or the window sash and sill. With the door or window closed, attempt to remove the bill. If it slides out easily, you're losing energy.
  • Clear Downspouts and Gutters
    • Avoid basement flooding and deterioration of the foundation by cleaning the gutter channels and clearing downspouts of debris. Replace deteriorating or broken gutters and downspouts.
  • Crank the Heat!
    • Turn on your furnace and give it a test-run
    • Change the air filter. This will enable your heating system to run at maximum efficiency which can even help save money on heating costs.
    • If your home has gas heat, check the pilot light, burner and chimney flue. If not vented properly, you could have carbon monoxide building up in the house.
  • Prevent Trouble Down Below
    • There may also be things that need attending to beneath your property. For example, flush underground sprinkler systems before the cold sets in by blowing air into pipes to displace leftover water. This is important because water lines are typically only 6 to 8 inches below ground -- and prone to freezing. If they freeze and then burst, you could have a costly repair situation on your hands.
  • Check the Septic
    • Homeowners with septic tanks should also think about pumping them now -- before the ground freezes and snow buries your yard. Septic tanks should be checked once every year and cleaned no less than every three years.
  • Protect Your Pipes
    • Frozen or burst pipes are among a homeowner's worst nightmares. For a preventative measure, add insulation to pipes in unheated areas, which reduces heat loss from hot-water pipes and condensation on cold water pipes.
    • Install a freeze-proof outdoor faucet which will eliminate the problem of a frozen or broken spigot. These faucets employ a long stem that shuts the water off about a foot back in the house preventing the pipe from freezing.
  • Conduct a Water Heater Check-Up
    • There may also be things that need attending to beneath your property. For example, flush underground sprinkler systems before the cold sets in by blowing air into pipes to displace leftover water. This is important because water lines are typically only 6 to 8 inches below ground -- and prone to freezing. If they freeze and then burst, you could have a costly repair situation on your hands.

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