Archives For Winterize

Now is a great time to start getting your home ready to handle the colder temps and rougher weather months ahead. Below we’ve provided a list to make sure you are prepared.

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Interior

  • Replace batteries in smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors (use the equinox or “fall back” time change date as your annual reminder)
  • Ensure all heating vents are unobstructed.
  • Have furnace or heat pump serviced to ensure it’s working efficiently before the temperatures get too low.
  • Replace (or remove and clean) furnace air filter on the following schedule:
    • High-efficiency and electrostatic filters need to be replaced once per quarter.
    • Simple fiberglass or paper filters should be replaced monthly.
    • Reusable mesh filters should be cleaned monthly (do not reuse filters unless they are specifically intended for it).

Exterior

  • Check foundation for cracks. If found, document with photos for future comparison – if cracks are over 3/16” wide or have increased in size since your last inspection, consult a professional.
  • Examine areas where different materials meet and where pipes or wires enter the house for any gaps. Seal with caulking.
  • Visually inspect roof for leaks, missing or damaged shingles, or rusting flashing and schedule repairs if you find any damage.
  • Make sure the seal between garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals. Replace weather-stripping if necessary.
  • Inspect driveway for cracks. Clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer.
  • After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary.
  • If you remove your window screens, clean and repair them before putting them away for the winter.
  • Clean windows and reinstall storm windows and doors if stored in the spring.

Cracked Foundation

  • Have chimney cleaned; make sure flue damper closes securely.
  • Remove window air-conditioner units and store in a dry location. Protect permanently placed units by wrapping in a tarp or weatherproof cover.
  • Winterize outdoor faucets: Detach and drain all hoses. Shut off outdoor water supply valve, and then open all outdoor faucets to drain water remaining in the pipes. Cover faucets and exposed piping with insulating foam covers to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Drain and winterize in-ground sprinkler system.
  • Trim all trees and bushes back to a minimum distance of 3”-6” from your house.
  • Drain fuel from mowers and other gas-powered lawn equipment before storing for the winter.
  • Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area.

Patio Furn

As we head into the winter months, you may feel the need to turn up the heat as it gets colder outside. Here are 7 of our favorite tips from The Daily Green that will help you make your home feel warmer without turning up the heater:

Use Caulking and Weather-stripping: According the US Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30% of your energy use. Taking the time to seal gaps with caulking and weather-stripping can help keep unwanted breezes out of your home. In addition you can also roll up a bath towel to place under a drafty door.

Change Furnace Filters: This is something that can be very easy to forget. Replacing or cleaning furnace filters once a month during the heating season is very important though. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Also to reduce waste and hassle consider switching to a permanent filter.

Run Fans in Reverse: When people think of fans they only think of cooling, but as it turns out many ceiling fans come with a switch that reverses the direction of the blades. You can cut your heating costs as much as 10% by switching the blade direction to clockwise to circulate the warm air that gets pooled near the ceiling.

Turn Down Your Water Heater: Lowering your heater 20 degrees or more can reduce water heating costs by 6 to 10%. Most conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, and most households don’t need that much steam. By lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F, it can help you save money on your bill.

Install Storm Doors and Windows: Installing a storm door to seal drafts and reduce air flow can increase energy efficiency by 45%. They also offer greater flexibility for letting light and ventilation into your home. Similarly, when you install storm windows they can make a huge different when the cold wind starts blowing.

Check Your Thermostat: Sometimes we forget to turn down the heat when we leave the house, but by doing so you are guaranteed to save money. There is no point in keeping the heat on when there is no one to use it. For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save 1 to 3% on your heating bill. You can also buy a programmable thermostat to help make it easier.

Boost Insulation: Insulation is one of the best ways to save money and energy at home. Adding more insulation between walls, attic floors and basement ceilings can make a big difference. Another thing to check is your pipes, if they feel warm to the touch then it might be the perfect time to insulate them. You can easily do it yourself buying pre-slit foam from the hardware store. This will help you save money and decrease the chances of your pipes freezing.

This complete list can be found on The Daily Green

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