Oh, the weather outside is frightful (or can be). Home winterization doesn’t have to be.
North Carolina is a state that offers bountiful springs, summers with sun and fun, fall foliage displays that are canvas worthy, and mild winters that remind us how much we look forward to the green and blossoming of spring. While the majority of the winter in North Carolina is mild by northern standards, this does not mean you should overlook these 10 key steps to prepare your home for winter. After all, a well-cared for home is more appealing even in a winter market.
A Winter You Won’t Remember for Preventable Disasters
Taking the time and proactive steps now before any hard freezes can protect your home and wallet in the long run. Winterizing your home does not have to take more than a weekend. Check these off your to-do list before the holidays roll past and you find yourself deep into the winter months.
10 Key Steps for Home Winterization
1. Clean the gutters
Rain gutters are great for diverting water away from the roof and diverting it away from the foundation of the house, but they also collect leaves and pine needles. This debris can prevent the water from freely draining away from the house. Pooling water can lead to roof rot and mold development within your home.
2. Tend to the trees
Cut back dead limbs or limbs that are close to the house. Winter storms bring ice, snow, and wind. These can cause dead or dying limbs to fall onto the roof or be blown to the house. Trim back the trees to prevent extensive and expensive repairs to your home.
3. Put away hosepipes
Drain excess water and remove the hose from outside spigots that are not in daily use. Removing the hose will prevent any water from freezing in the lines in the event of a hard freeze. Stow away the hose till warmer weather to prevent it from cracking in the changing outdoor weather.
4. Maintain heating systems
Regularly maintained HVAC units reduce costly repairs by 95%. Part of that maintenance should be to change out filters monthly to keep the unit working smoothly as well as cleaning those coils. Think about it like this. You do routine maintenance on a car to keep from having to buy a new one because the engine blew. Have a serviceman come out and perform a regular maintenance check before you get into the winter months can prevent issues like these.
5. Insulate the pipes
Insulating pipes helps to prevent them from freezing on the coldest of winter nights. Frozen pipes expand and can lead to costly leaks and repairs. Insulated pipes also help with the efficiency of your home and help to keep utility costs lower.
6. Check all detectors
House fires are more common in the winter months due to heating homes with fireplaces, gas logs, space heaters, and kerosene heaters. Make it a point to check and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These can not only save your home but you and your family’s lives.
7. Door and window leaks
As the temperature drops, you may notice certain areas feel drafty. This means warm air is escaping and cool air is seeping in. This means your heating system will have to work even harder to keep your home warm. Apply caulking and weatherstripping to stop the air leaks.
8. Change the direction of the ceiling fan
Most fans have a switch that reverses the way the blades turn. Switching the direction for the winter will push warmer air down and pull the cooler air up helping to keep your house feeling warm without sending your heating system into overdrive.
9. Chimney clean out
Professional yearly maintenance and cleanout are key for efficient and safe operation in the home. Chimneys when used to burn wood have a build-up of soot, creosote, or blockage. These can lead to house fires and a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide if the fireplace is not properly venting out the smoke from the fire. If your chimney is not used for fires, you may not realize how much of your heat is going up the chimney. Consider a chimney balloon to keep the warm air in and winter air out.
10. Close crawlspace vents
Crawlspaces are vented in summer to improve circulation of air and prevent the build up of moister under the house. During winter, closing off the vents helps to keep your house a bit warmer and ensure pipes are not exposed to freezing temperatures as easily.
By starting winterization of your home with this list, you will ensure a winter that you won’t remember because of high utilities or preventable disasters.