Are you prepared for the colder months ahead? It is crucial that you prepare your home for winter at the end of the fall or just before the onset of winter. Even though every season affects your home, no other season impacts it more than winter. Pipes and taps outdoors or in cold places like garages could freeze in cold weather, leaving you without water or flooding your home. To ensure you do not incur hefty repair costs in the coming winter, you want to act now. Make your home’s interior and exterior winter-ready with the helpful tips below. They are manageable and affordable - and can save you thousands of dollars.
How to Prepare your Home for Winter
The leaves changing color is an indication that cold temperatures are on their way. Before you put on your favorite cozy sweater and head out to enjoy the changing seasons, there are certain things you should address inside and outside your home to prepare for winter.
How to Prepare Your Home Exterior
With fall officially here, it is time to start thinking about preparing your house for winter. Before you put that lawn mower away for the last time, follow these tips starting with the outside of the house:
Disconnect Hose Pipes
With the real risk of freezing pipes, disconnect all hoses from spigots and put these away for the winter. You could purchase spigot covers from your local store during the winter months. They are easy to install and help prevent the freezing of pipes. Pipes happen to freeze and burst during winter. To ensure minimal damage, make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is located.
Winterize the Sprinkler System
Do not overlook the sprinkler system when preparing your home for winter. Be sure to check your sprinkler system for leaks and replace broken parts as needed. Broken pipes can damage your foundation and cause a slip and fall hazard. However, if you have a lawn service to handle this, have them drain and winterize the system.
While you can hire experts to help you winterize the sprinkler system, it is also easy to do it yourself. Winterizing involves shutting off the water, draining the pipes, blowing them free of water, and then opening test cocks on the vacuum breaker to allow air into the system. Doing this prevents trapped water from freezing and breaking plastic water lines.
Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning your gutters every season is critical, especially before winter. If your location receives more snow than other areas, there is a higher chance of your gutters carrying too much weight on them. The snow’s weight could pull the gutters from your house. Make sure to remove all leaves and any other debri on the gutters by hand and then give them a hose rinse.
A clean gutter makes winter melting snow and rain drain properly. If you don't clean your gutters, not only will they fall off, but this could also cause water damage to your home. Ice and snow often melt and refreeze during the night. Also, blocked drains could build ice dams where water can back up, freeze, and cause water seepage into your house. Water damage could cost you thousands of dollars. To save money, ensure the water drains elsewhere after melting.
Store Outdoor Items and Prepare the Landscape
You want to prepare your yard for winter by following garden and lawn procedures that entail care for flower beds, grass, and other outdoor plants. You also should deal with outdoor furniture and other tools using the tips below:
- Clean and Protect your BBQ. Clean and protect the BBQ. The most important thing is ensuring that there is no grease, food debris on the grill. The crucial reason is that the very last thing you want is for insects and small animals to come set up shop in your barbeque throughout winter. You also want to unhook your propane tank. You must never store a propane tank in your house or garage, as it is a major fire hazard. Finally, cover up the BBQ.
- Cover your AC unit. If you have an AC unit outdoors, you want to put a cover over that.
- Clean and cover your patio furniture. Fumigate and clean your outdoor furniture in preparation for winter. Take the furniture to your garage for storage during the cold season. If the furniture cannot be moved, protect it by covering using a furniture cover.
- Seal the wooden deck. Walk the exterior of the property and check for damaged faucets. The deck should be patched and sealed to prevent rodents from nesting in your warm insulation.
- Clean the chimney. If you have a chimney, this is a good time to have it cleaned and checked for any damage.
Have Your Roof Inspected
An important yet most overlooked step when preparing a house for winter is roof inspection. You want to hire a roofing expert if you cannot do this yourself. If you must inspect the roof, consider wearing safety gear, including non-skid soles and well-fastened shoes. Below are roof parts you should inspect:
- Inspect the gutters. As mentioned above, ensure gutters are clean with no debris or leaves clogging them. If left unattended over winter, ice stamps add significant weight, increasing the chances of damage.
- Inspect the flashing. Check for flashing near chimneys and other roof projections. These are major sources of leaks. If you find faults, call a contract for repairs.
- Inspect the shingles. Check your roof for damaged or missing shingles, and have your contractor replace these.
How to Winterize Your Home Interior
Winterizing your home’s interior safeguards your property and helps to keep the elements outside. In return, you save on heating bills. Below are things to do this coming winter:
Recaulk Your Doors and Windows
Prevent heat loss and water damage by caulking your doors and windows before winter. For only $30, you could purchase a caulk gun and tube exterior caulk and recaulk by yourself or hire a Los Angeles insulation expert. Experts recommend using a silicone caulk as it doesn’t expand and contract when exposed to extreme temperatures.
When caulking your doors and windows, cut the caulking tube at a slight angle using the gun. Check that your gun comes with a blade to do this step. Insert the caulking tube into your gun and press the handle until the tube presses tightly to the circular pad. After caulking begins coming out of the hole you made, use force to apply a thin caulk line across the door or window molding to your structure. Use latex gloves to press on the caulk lightly, spread it out, and fill the small cracks until you notice its smoothness.
Winterize your Heating System
It is a good time to ensure your heater is working properly before the first time you need to run it this winter. Also, check the air filters and replace them if necessary. Below are tips to winterize the heating system:
- Test the system. Test your heater to ascertain that it runs fine. Switch the thermostat to heat mode and set it at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Your system is running fine if you feel warm air blowing after the furnace turns on. Diagnose the furnace if it is not running properly. Depending on its fault, you could fix it or hire a service technician.
- Replace the air filter. Place a new clean filter to allow free airflow and a cleaner home environment. Every heating system has its air filter requirements, so check with your manufacture for recommendations.
- Inspect the fuel supply. If your furnace runs on fuel oil or propane, ensure the storage tank is filled for use during the cold months.
- Check and clean the heating vents. Clearing obstacles to heating vents allow air to flow freely. Experts recommend that you find a qualified service technician to come on and clean your vents before winter.
- Check for carbon monoxide leaks. If not checked, leaks are silent killers. Fortunately for you, carbon monoxide leaks are easily detected with a smoke alarm or test badge. If you find faults, it is recommendable to hire a technician to do repairs.
- Inspect exhaust vents. Many homes install boilers, gas water heaters, and furnaces that vent through chimneys. Newer high-efficiency furnaces vent through aluminum or plastic pipes fixated on the sidewall. Ensure these vents are open and free of obstructions. Obstructions block vent pipes and interfere with the system’s ability to heat and vent exhaust gases efficiently.
Wrap Your Pipes
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze could be a huge problem. Make certain that the water to your hose is shut off and that the lands are drained. Search for pipes that aren’t insulated or pass through unheated spaces. For example, pipes that run through basements and garages. Wrap them with pre-molded foam, fiberglass insulation, or rubber sleeves. These tools are readily available in local hardware stores.
Insulate the Walls
A well-insulated and ventilated home will save you both on your heating bill and prevent ice stamps. Consider adding a second layer of insulation since inadequate insulation allows heat to rise up and out of your home forcing heating systems to work harder to keep your home warm.
Check the Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke alarms should be tested multiple times a year, and now is a great time to clear off your checklist. Any alarms that are not properly working should have the batteries replaced or the whole unit replaced if it is defective. If there is one thing you should do to prepare for winter, it has to be this because smoke alarms are one of those gadgets that keep your family safe. As always, if you are uncomfortable performing these tasks, look for reliable and qualified help to assist.
Run Your Interior Fans In Reverse
Reversing your ceiling fan is a tip that homeowners often overlook. Many fans have switches that reverse the blade’s direction. Switching your fan blades to clockwise rotation pools air closer to the ceiling, and circulates it back into the house. This tip coil help you cut your heating costs as much as 20%
According to the US Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use, and blocking them increases your home’s energy efficiency. To know what drafts you should eliminate, hold a lit candle along baseboards and window sills. If the candle flickers, that signals a draft that needs to be blocked. Start simple and either purchase or make your draft snake. You can easily make one yourself by placing a rolled towel under a drafted door.
Turn Down The Water Heater
Many water heaters come set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by manufacturers. However, that steam is too much for many households. Reducing the heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit decreases your heating costs by up to 15%. It is not uncommon to forget to lower the heat down when leaving your house. But doing so you save money. Many homes use about 60% of their energy costs on heating and cooling. You don’t need to pay for what no one uses.
Have your Storm Damage and Home Insurance Updated
After maintaining and winterizing your home to a sufficient standard, update your insurance coverage. Ensure your premiums are settled in case the winter weather causes damage to your home. Insurers find reasons not to compensate you, so you don’t want to give them a reason. If any house section is damaged, file a claim immediately. Also, check with your policy provider before calling your contractor for repairs.
Talk to a Los Angeles Insulation Expert Near Me
Cold weather could be hard on your home and especially your wallet. Prepare your home for whatever winter has in store by following the tips explained above. At The Insulation Experts, we are the premier insulation providers in Los Angeles with vast experience helping homeowners make their houses winter-ready. For more information on preparing your home for winter, contact us today at 310-301-1818.