Winter maintenance at home is an important factor in being comfortable at home, and in saving money, too. Here are the basics in winter home maintenance.
When winter hits, the last thing you want to worry about is being cold in your own home and skyrocketing energy bills. With a bit of maintenance before or even after cold weather hits, you’ll be a smart homeowner who isn’t shivering, panicking over your heating bill, or dealing with issues in the middle of the coldest night of the year.
Take a look at these tips to winterize your home and keep your heating costs down this winter.
Take care of drafts
You’ve got several options to deal with drafts. Check for air leaks around all your windows and doors and seal them up with caulk. Don’t forget to remove old caulk that may be cracking and replace it with new.
Consider putting up storm doors or storm windows that will be an added layer in keeping out cold air. You can also buy plastic insulation to go over your windows to help deal with drafts.
Check your heater
You should change filters once a month. Go ahead and put a new filter in your furnace if it’s been several months since it’s been turned on. It’s best to get your heater inspected before the cold weather hits but if it’s already here, go ahead and schedule maintenance as soon as possible.
Your HVAC professional will test everything, make sure your heater works, and let you know of any potential problems before you find out the hard way on a night when you really need your heater.
Check your roof
If you have shingles on your roof, check for loose, damaged, or missing shingles. You’ll want to repair any loose ones and replace damaged or missing pieces. Any bare spots are just another opportunity for cold weather to seep inside making your heater work harder. While you’re up there, check for cracks or problems around chimneys and vent stacks that might be letting cold air in.
And if there’s any reason why you feel uncomfortable being on your roof in winter, or at any other time, always call a professional. Safety comes before anything.
Winterize your air conditioner
Drain the water from the hoses and pipes, and if possible, turn off the water shutoff valve to your air conditioner. This will actually save you a little in the summer more than the winter, but it will also help you keep your air conditioner in good shape for next year.
If your AC is a window unit, pull it out, put it away until the weather warms up, and deal with any drafts you may have in that window
Clean your chimney
Before you use your fireplace for the first time, clean the chimney. Your fireplace won’t work as efficiently if you’ve got a dirty or clogged chimney. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning it yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.
Smart homeowners know that the best way to keep a home warm without overworking your heater is to seal everything and keep the cold air where it belongs — outside. You don’t have to do everything at once, but as long as you can get it done before the worst weather hits, you’ll keep everyone warm and your energy bills down.