Winterizing your home can save you cash and make your winter much more comfortable and relaxing. Make sure your home is ready for another Midwest winter with these Fall Home Maintenance Tips from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Fall Home Maintenance Tips for Winterizing Your Home
A big part of winterizing your home is making sure your heat works well and stays in the house. There are a few things you can do to make this happen.
Check and Seal All of Your Windows and Doors
Check all of your window and door locks to make sure they’re all working properly. A sturdy, tight window or door lock is key to keeping the frame pressed tightly into the window sill or door jamb. The tight seal will keep warm air from escaping, which can save you money on your heating bill.
Look for air leaks around your windows and doors and insulate them with window insulation kits and weather stripping. Even gaps as small as 1/8” can create major air loss. On a windy day, carefully hold a lit incense stick or smoke pen up to the cracks around your windows, doors, ceiling fixtures, and attic hatches. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking or weather stripping. Check out our blog articles on weather stripping your windows and doors for more information.
Make sure the caulking around your doors and windows is adequate to reduce the heat loss that happens in mid-winter. Check glazing for loose or missing putty or compound. Re-glaze or re-putty problem areas. This will also help reduce water damage to your windows and door frames.
Inspect Your Home for Water Leaks
Winterizing your home means priming it to work efficiently during the colder months. This means inspecting your plumbing, too.
Check all the faucets in your home for any type of leak. Check around the bottom of your dishwasher by leaving paper towels around the outside of the machine while it is in use. Take some time to inspect the pipes underneath your sinks and tubs. Check your toilet by dropping some food coloring in the tank of your toilet. Watch the bowl of your toilet for a few minutes to see if any of the food coloring appears. If coloring appears this means you have a slow leak.
You can also use your water meter to check for any hidden leaks. Check the reading on your meter while all faucets and appliances are off and do so again in an hour without running any water. If your meter has moved, you have a hidden water leak somewhere in your house.
Protect your Home’s Plumbing and Electrical from Cold Weather
Another key part of winterizing your home is making sure none of your plumbing freezes. Insulate the water pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic with pipe insulation. These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. You can use heat tape or heat cables can be used to wrap pipes and keep them warm. Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside your home near your pipes. Look for additional leaks near electrical wiring and dryer vents.
Perform Regular Maintenance on Your Heating System
Winterizing your home is all about making sure your house is warm, safe, and ready for winter.
Have a heating professional check your heating system every year. Woodburning stove connector pipes and chimneys should be inspected by a certified chimney sweep at least once per year.
Replace your furnace filter. Furnace filters need to be replaced frequently to allow your heating and cooling systems to operate properly.
Clear Out Any Bird Nests from Summer
Remove bird nests from your chimney flue and outdoor electrical fixtures. Bird nests on top of light fixtures are a fire hazard. Bird nests in chimney flues can prevent proper venting of harmful combustion gases and can catch fire. Exercise great caution when working on your roof. Consider hiring a professional to take care of this work.
Prepare for Wet Shoes and Boots
Make sure there are working nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairs. Tile and painted wood or concrete stairs can be slippery when wet or when a person’s shoes are wet. Resurface the treads with slip-resistant strips near the stair nosing. All stairs of at least three risers should have a handrail. Use a footwear dryer and welcome mats to reduce the amount of water you get on the floor.
Winterizing your home is a lot of work, but it saves you headaches down the road. Get it done during fall and relax this winter. For more great Home Maintenance Tips and How-To Articles, check out our blog.