Winterizing for Your First Cold Season in Your New Home
Now that you’re all settled in your new home, your attention will shift toward keeping your living space warm during the winter. Even if your home is older, you can keep it nice and toasty by following the helpful winterization tips detailed below.
Seal All Windows and Doors
Move your hand along the perimeter of your windows and doors. If the perimeter is cool or if you can see light shining in, seal those areas. The addition of weather stripping along the perimeter of your doors and windows will keep the cold air outside and your warm air inside.
You can also use a caulking gun to add a barrier of protection between your living space and the cold outdoor air. Furthermore, if you have storm windows, add them now at the start of the winter and you’ll rest easy (and warmer!) knowing you have worked to prevent winter’s wrath from sneaking in through your windows.
Prepare the Furnace
Reach out to a local HVAC specialist for a furnace maintenance appointment. The furnace expert will analyze your home heating system to determine if it is capable of heating the entirety of your living space throughout the upcoming winter. The furnace technician will also perform a tune-up, ensuring it can create and transmit heat in the upcoming months. Above all, furnace maintenance prior to the arrival of winter ensures your home will be heated when you need warm air the most.
Mind the Furnace Filter
It is important to change the furnace filter throughout the winter as necessary. If you leave a dirty filter in place, it will prevent air from flowing as it should and ultimately force the heating system to operate an unnecessarily high frequency. There is even the potential for a dirty or clogged furnace filter to become a fire hazard. If you don’t like the idea of replacing your furnace’s filter once per month, consider switching over to reusable electronic or electrostatic filters that you can wash and reuse throughout the year.
Reverse the Direction of the Ceiling Fans
Heat naturally rises. However, if you change the direction of your ceiling fan so they move clockwise, you will move that warm air back down into your living space. So be sure to check to see if your home’s ceiling fans have a switch to change the direction of the blades and change their direction prior to the arrival of the cold temperatures. The downward movement of heat will keep you that much warmer and also save you money on home heating bills.
Insulate the Pipes
Add foam insulation to your home’s pipes, especially those near outside walls and you’ll rest easy knowing you have done your part to prevent them from freezing when the temperatures drop toward or below the freezing mark. You can add foam insulation on your own with a pair of scissors and an accurate measurement of the pipes’ diameter.
Add sensors to detect reductions in pipe temperature and water leaks. If the pressure within your home’s pipes rapidly decreases or if a pipe bursts, the water-leak sensor will notify you. If the pipes become so cold that they have the potential to burst, the burst pipe indicator will bring it to your attention.
Add Insulation to the Attic
Insulate your attic floor and you’ll help keep warm air inside and decrease the chances of ice dam formation above. It is also in your best interest to check the attic for insulation leaks. If the current insulation is leaking or looks as though it isn’t providing much protection, proactively address it now and you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve done your part to warm your home as winter approaches.
Turn off the Water to Outside Faucets
Your home likely has a couple exterior water spigots that connect to hoses. Find the shutoff valves for these exterior faucets and turn off the flow of water. Be sure to drain out the water remaining in the pipe by releasing it from the small nozzle near the water control handle. Remove, drain, and store all hoses in a warm place to ensure that nothing is left behind in them to freeze.
Sweep the Chimney
Have your chimney swept prior to the start of winter and you’ll be able to sit in front of a warm fire in full confidence when the temperatures drop Reach out to an experienced chimney sweeper to clear out all the gunk and you’ll also enjoy an invaluable peace of mind knowing the smoke from the flames has an unimpeded path upward and out of your chimney. Neglect your chimney and you run the risk of creosote building up to the point that it poses a fire hazard.
Clear the Roof and Gutters
The last thing you need is for an ice dam to form in your gutters, preventing melting snow from dripping off the roof, away from your house, and down to the ground. You can prevent this by cleaning the gutters and the roof. Clear out all the debris from the gutters and roof before the first snowfall of the year. A thorough clearing will prevent snow and ice from building up to the point that an ice dam forms.
An ice dam impedes the flow of melting snow and rain, causing water to possibly move below the shingles and even create costly leaks and water damage along the interior of your house. Be sure to check the gutters for ice dams at least a couple times during the winter. If an ice dam forms, reach out to an ice dam removal service as soon as possible to prevent damage to your gutters, your roof, and the interior of your home.