Since it is officially fall, now is the time to make sure your house is going to be ready for the upcoming winter season. This means getting yearly inspections on your household equipment. These inspections and cleanings may seem like chores you think you can skip or a waste of money, but it will end up saving you a lot more money than replacing whole units, or even a big accident down the road. You go to the doctor yearly for preventative care, why wouldn’t you treat your house with the same care! Here are 5 tips to help get your home ready for the winter ahead:
You should have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year to prevent soot and creosote buildup (a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from wood smoke on the walls of a chimney) even if you have a gas fireplace. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) some of the new gas fireplaces still recommend or require an annual chimney cleaning. Build up of creosote and soot can lead to a chimney fire.
Roof & Gutters
Check your gutters for any debris and damages. Clogged gutters can obstruct water flow which can lead to water collection in the gutters which can freeze. This may not be a big issue during the winter, but when the ice melts, the water may potentially seep through the shingles and drip through the roof in your house causing mold and other issues. So while you are up inspecting the gutters, you should also make sure there are no loose or missing shingles on your roof. Low hanging tree branches over the house should also be removed so there is no potential for damage if the branch should fall from heavy snow.
Windows & Doors
Check the caulking and weatherstripping around windows and doors. Make sure there are no air leaks coming from around the creases. Replace or repair as necessary to help keep your home more heat efficient and to prevent drafts in the months to come. Basically all windows have a large gap (¼ to ½”) on all four sides between the window sash and the framed opening. This is a major source of thermal and air leakage that is hidden by window trim and/or wall finish. So choose a weatherstripping that can withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with the door or window location.
HVAC & Filters
Have your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system serviced at least once a year. This will help prevent having any bigger issues when it actually gets cold; it will prolong the life-span of your equipment, and provides maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs. Also remember to replace your air filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. Dirty filters lets dust and contaminants build up on your systems moving parts causing the system to work harder, putting more wear and tear on it, and making it less efficient.
Water Heater & Pipes
Don’t forget to drain your water heater. Sediment can clog pipes which could cause issues. Doing this simple task can improve your water heater’s efficiency by up to 50%. While the water heater is draining, remember to insulate exposed water pipes. These pipes could freeze and potentially burst which can lead to a lot of unnecessary costs.
Be prepared this year before the winter hits. Help save and maintain your investment by getting yearly inspections. The cost of maintenance is going to be less than having to replace early on. Now that you are ready for winter, enjoy the rest of the fall while it lasts!