Winterizing your home can help lower the cost of your energy bills, increase the efficiency and lifespan of your home and its components, and make your property safer for you and your family. Your home is one of your biggest investments and by maintaining it regularly you can ensure that you get to enjoy it for years to come.
Here are 5 things all homeowners should do to get their home ready for winter.
1. Trim nearby trees
Trimming down any branches that are around your windows, roof, and driveway is a great thing to do before the snow and ice come and weigh them down, it could cause potential damage to your windows roof, or make it harder to get in and out of your driveway.
2. Clean your chimney
Checking your chimney for any debris or blockages by doing a chimney sweep will drastically lower your chances of having a flue fire. Removing regular chimney soot can be simple, but if there’s a heavy buildup you may want to hire a professional. Take a flashlight and fire poker and shine the light up your chimney flue, use the fire poker to scratch the surface. If the soot looks matte black and has a thickness of 1/8 of an inch deep or less and you’re comfortable working on top of your roof then you can do it yourself. If the soot buildup is deeper and has a shiny, tarlike appearance you’ll want to consider getting a professional to clean it for you.
3. Clean your gutters
As long as you're not afraid of heights this is something super easy to do and could save you money in the long run. Cleaning out all the leaves and gunk from the fall makes the snow and ice from winter less likely to build up and potentially damaging your gutters or worse.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and rubber gloves
- Use a sturdy, extendable ladder and place it firmly against your home
- Using a plastic scoop (or your hands), remove any debris you can see
- Flush out the rest by using a hose, while paying attention for any leaks
4. Turn down the temperature of your water heater
If your hot water tank and turned up to as hot as it can get, and you stick your hand in to check the temperature before a shower, you risk burning yourself. Turning down the temperature of your hot water heater, won't only save your skin but save you money too! 48 degrees Celsius (or 120 degrees Fahrenheit) can bring down your water heating costs by 6%-10% a year. If you lower it any more than that you run the risk of your pipes freezing.
5. Check fire and carbon monoxide detectors
The risk of house fires and carbon monoxide buildup tend to happen more in the winter time since people are running their furnaces and boilers more to keep warm. Test both your carbon monoxide detector and your fire detectors to ensure they are in working order and have fully charged batteries.
With any home upkeep or project staying safe and making sure you're comfortable doing the task at hand and using the proper tools it takes to complete it is most important. If you're uncomfortable with anything look online or ask around for recommendations to some professionals that can do the job for you. It may cost you up front, but it will pay off knowing that you're doing everything you can to keep you and your family safe.
Have a safe and warm winter!