Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

~ This is featured post. ~

As winter is fast approaching, it’s up to every homeowner to organize their home ready for the colder months. This might mean getting someone to service the heating system, dealing with last-minute gardening or just putting things away neatly. When these items are taken care of, getting through winter becomes much easier. However, if you don’t get these jobs tended to, you’re looking at an expensive repair or quick fix until the spring comes around and it’s easier to resolve.

Here are a few tips for how to get your home winterized.

Furnace Repairs
The furnace keeps you warm in winter, but it might have barely been used in the last few months if you live in an area that has milder weather. It’s a good idea to get your furnace checked out each year before using it for a sustained period. When a furnace has a problem, it could completely shut-down at the worst possible time. A dangerous burner leak or carbon monoxide leak at a low level inside your home might provide deadly. Getting your furnace checked using this service provides peace of mind.

Usually, a technician will check the air filters, verify that the thermostat is making the correct readings and perform a check on the gas and carbon monoxide to ensure there’s no accidental leakage. Piping that runs to the furnace might get looked at as well, along with the fan and motor, which are integral to its operation too.

It’s well worth making the investment to maintain your furnace, not just for safety but also due to the cost of replacing one should it go wrong. Just like any appliance, a little TLC goes a long way to helping it enjoy a longer life and reduces the total ownership cost of the operational period too.

Be a Tree Inspector
Look around your property to see whether there are trees with branches overhanging. The branches might run over your driveway, the roof or be near the windows on the uppermost floor. Bear in mind that during winter, rain on the branches can accumulate, freeze, and turn to ice. This can add enough weight to the branch to cause it to dip or fall down completely. That branch that hangs near a house window with the aid of water, freezing temperatures and wind turns into the one that might come right through the window!
Set about trimming back the branches that are dangerously close to the property. Use a cautious outlook about how much they could move during a storm. If you’re planning to do the work yourself, use a ladder safely as many accidents lead to people falling off them. If you’re not so sure about the task, get a tree surgeon to trim them back. If it’s only one branch, it won’t cost the earth if they’re a local or operating within the state.

Window Treatments
Check all the windows to see whether there are heat loss problems with gaps in the moldings or trim around the window. Perhaps the window sill is cracked and it’s a direct line in through the wall? Move your hand around the edge to check for any breeze. If you find any, using a weatherproofing strip to seal it.

You can also use a plastic sheeting to seal off each window, one at a time. This will prevent the window from being opened during the winter. Ensure they are all closed and their locking mechanisms fully in place first. Usually, the plastic see-through window sheets have adhesive to go around the edges of the window and fixes in place using a hairdryer to create a strong seal. This creates a secure vacuum that helps to keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside.

Gutter Cleanup
The gutters can cause a major issue in most homes when water starts freezing on the ground. Gutters tend to get blocked up with fallen leaves, twigs, and other debris until rainwater runoff cannot flow along the planned path to the drainage point. This causes water to overflow the gutters with random gushes of water or free-flowing streams when it’s raining.

The water on the ground can quickly freeze if it becomes still for too long because there’s no planned drainage in the spot where it’s hitting the ground. The area will turn into a sheet of ice that’s incredibly dangerous to walk on. This can happen at the front, back or side of the home and cause problems getting in and out of the property.
Make a point of cleaning all the gutters out. Check whether the water can flow freely and that it’s following the right path and disappearing down the drain. Look for collected puddles of waters and push them into the drainage system.

Wrapping Heat Pipes
Considerable heat is lost from pipes that are bare. When they’re wrapped up using foam designed expressly for pipes and secured with duct tape, it will avoid heat being lost along the heating system. When the pipes manage the heat well, the thermostat can be dropped a few degrees to balance out the average temperature when it reaches the hot water tap or shower unit. This will save you money every winter time. Buying the right foam from a DIY store and fitting it yourself is a weekend job only.

It’s not that difficult to prepare your home for winter. There’s still plenty of things to do though. For instance, if you have a deck, then this must be prepared for winter in a special way depending on the type of decking materials that it’s made from. Gardens can certainly do with some general tidying up, putting away gardening tools that might get hidden beneath snow and only being re-discovered when stepping on them. The whole property is certainly worthy of a once over to see what you can spot that’s been affected by the passage of time. You can then determine what issues need resolving now vs items for next year’s to-do list.
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