October 30, 2018
Halloween is over, which means winter is quickly approaching! You’re probably starting to make preparations, like swapping out shorts and sandals for heavy coats and snow boots. You are getting yourself and your family ready for the cold weather, but are you also preparing your house?
Keep your home warm and safe this winter by following our comprehensive to-do list before the real cold weather sets in.
1. Seal your home.
Don’t let those brutal winds inside! Your home is your fortress against the cold, so make it as airtight as possible. Give your home a quick run-through, checking for visible and hidden drafts. You can do this by holding a lit candle near the following areas:
- Vents and fans
- Plumbing areas
- Air conditioners
- Mail chutes
- Electrical and gas lines
If the candle flickers, you’ve likely got a draft.
Seal up all holes and reinforce existing points of entry with weather stripping. You can pick some up in your local hardware store. Follow the simple instructions and you’ll be keeping that cold air out and the warm air inside – right where it belongs.
You can also caulk windows and doors to make sure they’re truly sealed against the cold.
2. Clean your gutters.
If your gutters are clogged with sodden leaves, they can freeze up and block the drainage, allowing melting ice and snow to slowly seep into your roof and cause excessive damage. You can do this on your own, or hire a professional roofer to get the job done for you for around $100.
3. Invest in a roof rake.
If you live in an area that sees a lot of snow each winter, your roof could be sitting under several feet of snow for a few weeks at a time. All of that snow can get heavy, causing your roof to collapse. Invest in a roof rake that will help you clear the snow off your roof when it really starts piling up. You don’t want that roof falling in during the coldest time of the year.
4. Reverse your ceiling fans.
Flip the reverse switch on your ceiling fans to spin the blades clockwise rather than counterclockwise. This way, the fans will produce an updraft, which will push the rising hot air down so it can keep the entire room warm. This is especially crucial in rooms that have high ceilings. You may find that putting your ceiling fans to work allows you to turn down the thermostat by a couple degrees to trim your energy bill.
5. Prune your trees.
Take a walk around your home’s exterior and inspect all trees and bushes near its façade. Look for low-hanging or loose branches that are close to your house. If you find any, prune them now so they don’t end up cracking from heavy snow or wind and causing damage to your home.
6. Turn off external faucets.
Unfasten your garden hose from the spigot and drain your sprinkler system to prevent any freezing. Depending on your system, you may need to call in a professional to do this properly.
7. Protect your pipes from freezing.
Did you know that a burst pipe can cost you more than $5,000 in water damage? Prevent burst pipes with these simple steps:
- Keep your heat on—even when you’re not home. You don’t need to turn the thermostat up when you’re out, but you should keep it at a moderately warm temperature so your home’s pipes don’t freeze and burst.
- Allow your faucets to drip during severe cold snaps so that the water flows through your cold pipes. Allowing the water to stay stagnant puts it at greater risk of freezing.
- Wrap any exposed piping to prevent freezing. You can find foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes and outdoor hose bibs at most hardware stores.
8. Check your heating system.
Crank up the heat before the cold blows in to check if everything is in working order. After turning on your heating system, walk through your home to check if every vent is blowing warm air.
GICU can help if you need financial assistance to be able to complete any of these preparations with a Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit – both now with no closing costs! Learn more here or stop in and chat with us today!