Winterizing Your Home

As the temperature gradually begins to drop and winter rolls in, your house requires important maintenance to ensure it’s prepared for the coldest time of the year. Just like you would winterize your car or your wardrobe, you need to prepare your house for ferocious freezes and perilous precipitation.

Inspect the fireplace

Burning logs or gas in the fireplace is a great way to warm your home and your spirit on a cold winter’s night. But problems with the chimney can result in disastrous damage to your house. According to Lowe’s contributor Valerie A., “Animal nests or creosote buildup in your fireplace can be hazardous. Have an annual inspection before building your first fire of the season,” preferably by someone who can also remove any accumulated soot and debris. “You should also vacuum or sweep out any accumulated ash from the firebox,” she adds.

Thoroughly insulate the attic

A poorly insulated attic during winter can be the same as leaving your windows wide open: Cold air comes in and warm air escapes out. Joseph Truini of Popular Mechanics points out that most homes don’t have sufficient insulation in the attic. “A properly insulated attic floor will prevent heated air in the rooms below from flowing into the attic.” He also suggests to “caulk all ceiling penetrations — holes around pipes, ducts and wires — and to place an insulated cover over the attic hatchway or stairway.”

Check the roof’s sturdiness

Piles of snow, freezing rain and brisk winds put loads of pressure on your roof, and if it has weak spots, that force can break through. Carefully walk across your house’s roof and look for any impaired shingles, damaged flashing or soft spots. Also, check the attic ceiling for water damage. If you find places that need reinforcement, have a professional make repairs now while the weather is still warm.

Weatherproof and seal openings

Wintertime chills can seep into your warm home, causing your furnace to work much harder and more often. Make sure there aren’t any places that frigid air can leak into your house. “Caulk around windows and use foam outlet protectors to prevent cold air from entering your home,” Valerie A. recommends. If you have any loose doors that aren’t flush with their frames, or if their weatherstripping is damaged, repair them immediately.

Clear the gutters

Autumn is a beautiful season, but its onslaught of dead leaves can choke your home’s gutters. If you don’t clear out these clogs, precipitation won’t drain properly, and water can pool in the channels, where it’ll freeze, expand and crack the gutters during winter. Take some time to clean out your home’s gutters with a thick garden glove and ladder. Make sure you have another person assist you by holding the ladder. Also trim any branches that are getting too close to your home so they don’t cause damage in a storm.

Prepare the furnace

Don’t wait until the coldest day in winter to discover that your heater isn’t operating properly. Test the furnace by running it on a mild autumn day and ensure you feel warm air coming from the vents. While you’re doing that, Heather Levin of Money Crashers reminds you to check and replace the furnace filter if it’s older than a couple months.

It’s never too early to start winterizing your home. Start your preparation now to give yourself enough time to make necessary repairs.

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