Winter is approaching and with it comes freezing temperatures, driving winds and lots of snow. Keeping up on important home maintenance tasks this fall will ensure your home is protected from the harsh elements and operating efficiently. Here are some things you should do to prepare your home for winter.
Make sure your home is sealed tight.
Your windows and doors are the main culprits for heat escaping in the colder months. Inspect both the interior and exterior of your windows and doors for any damage, cracked seals and peeling weather stripping. If you have older windows that are warped or rotting, it might be time to consider replacing them with new energy efficient windows. In other cases, fresh caulking or weather stripping will seal them up, keep out the draft and keep in the heat. You can pick up weather stripping kits from your local hardware store.
Clean out your gutters.
During the summer and fall leaves, dirt and other debris will collect in your gutters. Your gutters are a critical part of your roofing system and need to be channeling rain and melting snow to the downspouts and away from your home. If water collects in your gutters and continually freezes and thaws it could cause your gutters to crack or come away from your home. Not only will this be a more expensive home repair come spring, it would also cause water to pool around your home’s foundation and could result in moisture getting into your basement.
Is it time for a new roof?
Take a look at your roof from the ground or climb up there with a ladder. If you see peeling, rotting or missing shingles, it means it’s probably time to replace your roof altogether. You should also make sure that any flashing around your chimneys or vents are not damaged or coming away from the roof. If your roof fails to protect your home from the weather this winter, you could get a leak in your attic which can damage your roof bed, framing, ceiling and walls. This kind of water damage is very difficult and expensive to deal with, so it’s best you replace your roof this fall if you need to.
Inspect and clean your heating system.
Investing in regular furnace maintenance will ensure your heating system is running safely and efficiently. Call a professional heating and cooling contractor to inspect your furnace, do any necessary repairs and give your furnace and ducts a thorough cleaning. It’s also a good idea to change your furnace filter every few months. A dirty filter will restrict air flow and reduce your furnace’s efficiency.
Prepare and clean your gas or wood burning fireplace.
Before your light a fire this winter, make sure your fireplace has been properly cleaned and inspected. For a gas fireplace, call your local utility company as they offer free safety inspections of gas appliances. This is also a good time to clean your glass plate and ceramic logs. This will help prevent black marks from building up outside your chimney. For a wood burning fireplace, make sure you sweep out all the ashes from last year and check the mortar for any cracks or damage. Check the exterior of your chimney for any lose bricks or cracking mortar. Contact a professional to have this kind of damage repaired. You should also have your chimney swept annually to ensure there is no flammable residue building up in there.
Though the cold weather is on it’s way, these home maintenance tips will keep you and your family warm and cozy until next spring. You’ll be protecting your home, saving energy and lowering your monthly utility bills.
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