Winter may still seem far away, but it’s icy breath can take us by surprise. To conquer the freezing temperatures when they come, you need to adequately prepare your home for the winter and the following are some of the ways you can go about doing this.
Start on the Outside
The yard is a part of every home, and probably the first thing that’s going to freeze is the undrained water in the pipes. As the ice expands, this will inevitably because said pipes to burst. You can prevent this simply by turning off the exterior faucets. Disconnect all your garden hoses and drain the remaining water from the faucets. If your home is more than 15 years old you probably don’t have frost-proof faucets so turn off the shut-off valve inside your home to be on the safe side. If you have a lawn irrigation system, call in a professional to drain it, too.
Prepare the Lawn
The same way we need to boost our immune system to get ready for the winter, our lawns need to be appropriately readied for the colder months. So you should fix bare patches, start mowing it higher, collect debris and leaves, and fertilize. You can additionally boost this process by mowing the leaves instead of raking them. That way you’ll cut the dry leaves into small pieces which will end up among the grass blades and decompose there, providing the lawn with nourishment throughout the winter.
Don’t Forget the Mower
If your mower sits through the winter you’ll have difficulty in trying to start the engine in the spring since the remaining fuel in the engine will decompose and ʽvarnishʼ the carburetor. That’s why you should wait for the tank to be nearly empty and then run the engine in order to use up the remaining fuel. If you’re adding stabilizer to your fuel to keep it fresh longer you just need to fill the gas tank and run the engine afterward to allow the fuel to circulate.
Make Sure the Gutters Aren’t Clogged
If your gutters are clogged, melted snow and rain can cause leaks and damage. That’s why you need to get caked-on dirt and all the twigs and leaves out of there. Then simply run water through the downpipes to double-check they’re not clogged. Sheets of ice and piles of snow can also damage your property or, even worse, can result in physical injury as it slides off the roof, so it would be wise to consider installing snow guards.
Prepare the Furnace
Moving to the interior, the first thing to check is the first line of defense against freezing temperature – your furnace. This should be done in advance because if something turns out to be wrong you’ll be caught freezing while the repairs are being done. Give your furnace a once-over so you won’t end up racing to find a repairman before your pipes freeze.
Boost Your Fireplace Efficiency
A fireplace can provide a very pleasant atmosphere during cold winter nights, but it can be a bit inefficient when it comes to keeping you warm. The problem is that fireplaces pull tons of heat up through the chimney, so you should choose one of the methods to maximize the heat which wood burning provides.
Search & Seal
If you want to lower your heating bill significantly, you need to find all the air leaks and seal them. You should start with weatherstripping the windows, which is an equally efficient method for stopping drafts around doors, including the one to access the attic (if you have one). Then walk around the house in search of other places where heat can escape, paying special attention to gaps around vents and plumbing pipes. Fill in these gaps with foam sealant and remember to close the exterior vents.
Cover Exposed Pipes
Busted pipes can cause serious water damage, so be sure to cover all exposed pipes in unheated areas such as the attic or basement. Some people use only newspapers and duct tape for the job, but pipe insulation sleeves won’t break your bank and they’ll certainly get the job done. Just make sure you’ve covered every part of the pipe, joints and bends included.
Don’t Skip the Attic
If you wish to harvest the benefits of the tips above, your attic also needs proper insulation. A poorly insulated attic can result in significant heat loss since the heat, as we all know, rises.
Hit the Reverse Switch of Your Ceiling Fans
This is a small trick as a cherry on the top. If you have ceiling fans, you probably also have a reverse switch. After you turn on the heat, use it to reverse the blades into a clockwise direction. That way the heated air will be pushed down into the room from the ceiling because fans will produce an updraft.
So there you have it. Whilst some of the above suggestions might not be entirely suited to your individual living situation, we’re confident that you can walk away from this article with at least a couple of useful tips that you can apply in and around your home. The key is to be prepared and not let the winter months creep up on you without some of the necessary steps being taken beforehand.