While the mid Atlantic region isn’t known for bad winters, the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted that this year will be colder and wetter than normal. Preparing ahead of time by winterizing your home can save you from discomfort and save your wallet from paying too much. Here are a few quick tips that you can do on your own to prepare for the colder weather.
- Get your HVAC checked – to keep your home comfortable and prepare for cold temperatures, it is important to schedule regular maintenance visits with your HVAC specialist. Most experts recommend having maintenance done twice a year – once in the fall before turning on the heat, and once in the spring before switching over to air conditioning. Regular maintenance will ensure that the whole system is running efficiently and that there aren’t any problems. An efficient system uses less energy to heat your home, so you end up spending less money on your heating bill. The heating system is key to winterizing your home – it can help prevent pipes in your home from bursting.
- Look for cracks – in order to make sure that your home doesn’t leak heat, it is important to look for cracks where air may sneak out. Check areas around windows and doors. If you notice any small gaps, you can use caulking or other weather strips or seals to fill in these spaces. Even a small space can be problematic.
- Protect pipes – burst pipes can be an expensive repair so prepping ahead of time to prevent this can save you a big headache. Spaces that are not heated, like a crawl space or a basement, should be the focus. You can insulate the pipes yourself, or hire someone to do it. Another trick is letting water trickle out of faucets (bathroom and kitchen sinks, shower, etc.) when the temperature outside dips below 32 degrees. You can also leave the cabinet under a sink open, to allow the heated air of your home to access those pipes.
- Put away yard equipment – if you don’t want to have to purchase new yard equipment, you should make time to tidy up outdoors. Hoses that are left out over the winter will become worn and may even burst if they have water sitting in them. Rakes, shovels, and other items can become rusted and wooden handles may rot. If you garden and have pots that are not waterproof (clay, terracotta, etc.) you need to put them away or they can also break due to frozen water expanding inside.
- Clear the gutters – if you live in an area with trees, cleaning the fallen leaves out of the gutter can be a pain. However, making sure the gutters are clear and in good order is actually really important. The function of the gutter is to collect water and steer it away from your home. If rain water is allowed to puddle next to your home, it can wreak havoc on the foundation. It can result in thousands of dollars in damage that must be repaired to make your home safe to live in. Cleaning the gutters thoroughly each fall will prevent leaf or ice dams. These dams disrupt the flow of water, which spills over the side and puddles near the base of your home. You can go one step further by installing gutter guards, which prevent leaves from building up within the gutter itself.
Don’t wait until the cold weather really sets in, take a weekend and tackle this list now. If you have any questions or need any help, Reliance Home Comfort is here to help. Give us a call today to schedule your next HVAC maintenance visit.