With winter fast approaching, it's important to ensure one's home is in tip-top shape to weather the harsh elements that are sure to accompany the coming months.
Here are some tips home owners should consider when winter-proofing their homes:
Check the foundation of your home. Debris should be raked away from the foundation and entry points should be sealed up to prevent small animals from crawling up under house, foundation cracks should be sealed, check sill plates for dry rot or pests and crawlspace entrances should be secured.
Check your roof, gutters and downspouts. Inspect and, if necessary, add extra insulation to attic to prevent the warm air from getting out, which can cause ice dams. Be sure water cannot get into your home by checking the flashing. Worn or missing roof shingles or tiles should be replaced. Use a hose to clean out gutters, and leaf guards on gutters to direct water away from your home.
Prepare pipes to avoid freezing. Know where you water main is in case of an emergency shut off. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Drain garden hoses. Drain air conditioner pipes. If you have one, turn off the water shut-off valve.
Seal off areas that might leak air. Drafty windows and patio doors with clear plastic. If you have a lot of outside doors that leak air, you can seal a few off using plastic or caulk putty. If you have a fireplace, close the damper when the fireplace is not in use.
Optimize what warmth you have access to. Uncover all south-facing windows to let all possible sunlight in your home. Reverse the direction of ceiling fans to push hot air downward and delay it from escaping the house. Consider hanging thermal curtains to help prevent drafts.
Insulate, insulate, insulate! Install foam insulators behind the face plates of light switches and electrical outlets. Consider hanging thermal curtains to help prevent drafts. Install a dryer vent seal to prevent cold air from traveling back into your home. If your home has folding attic stairs, consider insulating the door with a cover of some sort.
Check windows for leaks. Windows with wooden frames often warp and become inefficient. Caulk both sides of the trim around your windows. This is an area where a lot of air can get in. Remove any window-unit air conditioners.
Keep all closet doors closed when possible. There’s no need to heat space that isn’t in use as long as it doesn’t contain water pipes.
Replace what needs replacing. The caulking around any bathtubs or showers, worn or missing shingles.
Follow instructions. If you are using generators to supply temporary electricity, follow the generator manufacture’s instructions for safe usage.