Winter is just around the corner. Are you ready? With higher costs to heat your home looming, winterization offers the key to saving on energy this winter. There are many tasks you can do now to winterize your home, inside and outside. Here are our top seven tips to help you prepare for the 2022 season.
Clean Your Gutters
Although clearing autumn leaves from your gutters is crucial to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris, it’s not the only task to consider. Installing gutter guards can help avoid dangerous ice dams from building up along the eaves throughout the winter.
Untreated ice dams can damage your roof by tearing off gutters, loosening shingles, and even causing water to leak into your attic space if the ice becomes trapped underneath shingles. In addition, if excessive moisture drips into your attic space, your insulation can become damp, allowing mold and mildew to form.
Fill cracks in your walkway or driveway before temperatures dip below freezing. These cracks happen when pavement and asphalt naturally expand and contract with the temperatures. While this isn’t necessarily a problem yearly, this natural movement forms tiny cracks over time. These small cracks can grow into more significant problems later if left untreated.
Have Your Furnace Serviced
Now is the best time to have a professional service your furnace to ensure it’s running efficiently. Dirt and debris build up each season. Wiring can corrode, leading to a furnace failure or a fire hazard. Additionally, your HVAC technician might need to re-calibrate your furnace regardless of age. Think of it as a tune-up to keep everything running as it should.
A furnace that runs efficiently saves money by lowering your heating costs. An efficient furnace also uses less energy, heats your home faster and more efficiently, and keeps you warm throughout winter.
Insulate Your Pipes
Many homeowners experience the problem of frozen pipes during winter months. You wake up ready to start the day, but instead of running water, your pipes groan and whine when you attempt to turn on the faucet. Worse yet are the dangers of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes risk cracking or bursting, costing you more money for emergency repairs and leaving you without water for longer.
Frozen pipes are a common problem during winter, but they’re also a problem you can prevent when you winterize your home.
There are two ways to winterize your pipes.
• Polyethylene (PE) foam insulation
• Heat tape
PE Foam Insulation
PE foam insulation is a protective foam that easily slips over your pipes. It’s lightweight but durable and resists moisture while providing an extra barrier against the cold. Depending on where you live, this might not be enough, though.
Heat Tape and Heat Trace
Colder climates require more drastic measures, such as wrapping your pipes with heat tape or heat trace. Both options work similarly. Heat tape is more flexible; it’s a thin wire-encased tape you wrap around your pipes and plug into an exterior outlet. The tape is always “on” and set to the temperature you determine during installation.
Heat trace is more of a cable you wrap around your pipes. It’s less flexible than heat tape and, unlike heat tape, which you must order to size, you can cut heat trace according to the size you need. Additionally, heat trace self-regulates the temperature of your pipes.
Test Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors
Fires are among the top winter hazards, so test your smoke detectors to ensure they work. Additionally, check carbon dioxide detectors to make sure your fuel-burning appliances are not giving off higher levels of CO. Most homes today have these detectors. However, if yours does not, installing one is a good idea.
Clean Your Yard
Now is the time to tidy your yard and prepare for winter.
• Put away your hose and ensure your water spigot is off.
• Remove any debris in your yard to prevent a trip hazard once it’s snow-covered.
• Trim low-hanging branches and remove any dead wood.
• If you have any dead trees, call an arborist to remove them safely.
Apply Weatherstripping and Upgrade Insulation
Check the weatherstripping inside your window and door frames; replace it if needed. Also, now is an excellent time to replace old insulation with new. However, this depends on the type of insulation you have.
Usually, fiberglass insulation can last 80-100 years. However, batt insulation might need replacing every 15-20 years if it’s damaged or falling – leaving gaps where colder air can seep in. If uncertain, have a professional inspect it or perform a home energy audit.
The Final Word
It’s easy to winterize your home with the tips offered here. A home ready for winter will keep you warmer while saving energy. Winterizing your home can also save you money later on from costly repairs.
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