Sadly for all homeowners, prepping your house for the winter is just one of those things you can't skip out on. Though I wish I meant hanging holiday lights everywhere, decorating your mantel, and watching last year's Hallmark Christmas movies on repeat until the new ones come out, there's much more to it.
Unfortunately, this is not the fun list you'll want to check twice, but you simply must—despite how tedious the tasks may be. Between the money saved on electricity and future repairs, your wallet will thank you later. Here's exactly what you need to do in order to get ready for the cold weather ahead:
Weatherproof your doors and windows.
It's important to get ahead of the winter weather and make sure your home is ready to handle the cold to come. Check your doors and windows closely for gaps and areas that may cause a draft. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal them up, or consider replacing the windows or doors if the problem is severe enough.
Reverse your fans.
Stephen Fanuka, host of Million Dollar Contractor, says turning your fans clockwise is a secret to saving money on heat in the winter since it will stop the warm air from rising, AKA keep it down where you want it to be. But how do you do this? Most ceiling fans have a switch that you can simply flip to reverse it—if the switch is not easily accessible on the outside of the fan, it may be somewhere inside.
Check for cracks in your water tank.
Another Fanuka tip is to make sure your hot water tank is crack-free. Chances are if you haven't installed one in 10-15 years, you'll need to replace it.
Clean your dryer hose.
Clogged dryer hoses pose huge fire hazards, in fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. firefighters respond to approximately 14,630 house fires annually that were caused by dryers. Consumer Reports s that you can prevent these house fires by cleaning your lint filter, emptying or replacing your dryer hose, and regularly checking the vent and exhaust.
Get an annual fireplace inspection and chimney sweep.
Similar to dryer hoses, clogged chimneys lead to house fires, but they can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Having a yearly inspection and chimney sweep may cost you money, but it could also save your life—so, make it happen. Additionally, make sure the flue on your chimney is fully functional so when the fireplace is not in use, you don't experience drafts.
Prevent pipes from freezing.
Two of Stephen's tips for the prevention of frozen pipes this winter include: (1) keep the heat on always and (2) let your faucets drip to keep the water flowing and make it harder for the water to freeze.
Lowe's has other information on how to prevent and thaw out frozen pipes here.
Bring the outdoors inside.
In case you didn't already do this before fall came around, be sure to move all outdoor furniture and appliances (grills, lawn mowers, et cetera) into your garage or shed as well as any planters you'd like to save through the season. Also, don't forget to turn off all sprinkle systems and unplug garden hoses.
Clean out your gutters.
Yes, this is a post-autumn activity as well, unfortunately, since it's best to avoid having any unnecessary weight from frozen leaves—in case the icicles weren't heavy enough as is. Emptying the leaves, dirt, and debris will decrease the risk of damage to your gutters.
Keep the heat on.
Keep the heat on always, Stephen urges. Even when you go away. By doing so you can keep your pipes warm and prevent them from freezing, while also saving money on having your heating system work extra hard when you return to bring the house back up to room temperature. Lowe's suggests updating your thermostat (if you haven't already) to a programmable version so you can set the house for one temp when you're home, and another for when you're away.
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