With winter fast approaching, take the time to get your home ready for the cold weather to come. Wind, rain, and snow can take a toll on your home. While you can’t control the forecast, you can ensure that your property is well-protected from the elements. End of summer and fall are the best times to mark off important maintenance tasks from your winter preparation checklist. Completing these tasks before winter will help keep your home toasty warm, increase the efficiency and lifespan of your home’s components, and noticeably lower your energy bills.
1. Tune-Up Your Heating System
While one of the most important maintenance tasks in the home, many homeowners overlook routine furnace tune-ups. Even newer heating systems require regular maintenance to keep them running at peak capacity. Over time, dirt and dust can settle in your heating system. To prevent these particles from affecting your heating performance, hire a professional to clean and tune-up your system. Regular furnace tune-ups can help prevent costly repairs later on and can significantly lower your heating costs.
2. Replace Dirty Furnace Filters
While your furnace filters don’t do any actual heating, they are responsible for the air quality in your home. Daily use of your furnace causes dirt, dust, and debris to collect in the filters. If you fail to clean or replace these filters regularly, you risk these harmful particles coming into your home through the air ducts. In time, the dirt will clog the filter and restrict air flow. When your air filter is clogged, your heating system will have to work harder to run, translating to higher energy bills and preventable break downs. Achieve cleaner air and cost savings by replacing your furnace air filter preferably once a month or at the least every three months in the winter.
3. Inspect and Insulate Your Home
Inspect and improve the insulation in your home before the cold winter weather arrives. Hire experienced insulation contractors like Beyond Exteriors to perform essential door, window, and attic inspections before winter begins to determine if your home insulation is up to par. Your attic is one of the best places to improve insulation to prevent air leaks from causing your energy bills to skyrocket. Based on recent research, 90 percent of U.S homes do not contain enough insulation, leading to wasted money, energy, and comfort.
4. Wrap Hot-Water Pipes
If your home is not well insulated, you may find that your pipes are constantly freezing during the coldest winter months. If left too long in a frozen state, your pipes could burst resulting in costly repairs. Insulate your hot-water pipes in your basement and crawl space with foam sleeves, insulation tape, or other thermal wrap. Leaving pipes exposed wastes heat by cooling down the water as it flows through the pipes. Pipes inside walls and in the basement are especially vulnerable to freezing.
5. Replace Loose or Damaged Shingles
Maintaining the integrity of your roof tops the list of most crucial home repairs. If your shingles are loose, damaged, or broken, repair them before the damage worsens. If your roof is more than 20 years old and a majority of the shingles are badly worn or damaged, it may be time to replace the roof. Look for signs that your roof needs to be repaired or replaced, such as loose or missing shingles, exposed nails, overflowing gutters, and interior water damage in the form of stains or rings on your ceiling which indicate a leak. If you suspect a leak, hire a contractor to determine the source of the water damage before it reaches the main living area of your home.
6. Divert Water from Your Home
Rain, snow, and ice needs somewhere to go. Prevent damage to your home by diverting water away from your home. If your gutter system is not sufficient, add extensions to your downspouts before winter so that all water flows at least three to four feet away from your home’s foundation. The diverted water will ideally land in an area with sandy soil and low foot traffic. Water can be diverted in a number of ways, such as downspout extensions, storm drains, swales, dry wells, and rain gardens.
7. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re constantly readjusting your non-programmable thermostat, consider installing a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to customize the heating and cooling in your home to meet your needs. Easily set your thermostat to a lower temperature when you’re away from home. Use the timer setting to have your thermostat automatically turn on your furnace a half hour before returning home. Programmable thermostats help you maintain a more consistent temperature for increased comfort in the winter. You’ll also spend less time adjusting the thermostat, giving you more time to do the things you want to do.
8. Seal Leaks in Furnace Ducts
In homes containing forced-air cooling and heating systems, ducts are used to distribute air through the house. Unfortunately, the average home loses about 20 to 30 percent of heated air in the ducts due to holes, leaks, and poor insulation. The result is higher energy bills and a furnace that is forced to run continually to keep up. You may have poorly performing air ducts if you have high energy bills, your rooms are difficult to cool or heat, your home never feels comfortable, or your ducts are located in the garage, crawl space, or attic. Sealing leaks in your ducts can help reduce your energy bills by preventing air loss.
Northern Virginia Insulation Contractors
There’s nothing quite like relaxing in your cozy, warm home in the dead of winter. Of course, you’ll need to complete some essential winter maintenance during the summer and fall months to prepare for the frigid winter ahead. If you’re ready to get started, contact the experts at Beyond Exteriors. Our insulation contractors will install high-quality insulation that will last you a lifetime and prevent a wasteful loss of heated air in the winter and cool air in the summer.