Looks like winter is well on its way, but even if you live in a mild climate, you’ll still want to get ready for cooler temperatures, longer nights, and wet weather. Here are 5 important reasons to winterize your home now.
1. Because Indoor Rivers Are Not Awesome
Have you ever walked in your house and found a waterfall in your kitchen? When pipes freeze, they eventually burst, so let the faucet drip to keep water moving through the pipes. Or you could insulate the water pipes in unheated areas of your house. You can also buy a freeze alarm that automatically checks your home’s temperature and alerts you if it drops too low.
2. Because An Indoor Rainstorm Is No Fun Either
A leaky or collapsed roof is another winter surprise you could do without. Clean leaves and debris out of your rain gutters so water doesn’t back up and damage your roof. Look for gutter leaks or misaligned pipes and make sure your downspouts pour away from the house so the water doesn’t cause flooding or damage your foundation.
Ideally, water from your gutters should be deposited at least 10 feet from your house. If your system falls short, consider adding a drainage pipe extension to the end of your downspout.
3. Because Not All Fires Are Cozy
Winter is the worst season for house fires, so one of your winterizing steps should be changing the batteries in your smoke alarms. Make sure to test your smoke alarms and check that they’re up to date — alarms and fire extinguishers should be replaced every 10 years.
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, you should have your chimney inspected once a year, and, cleaned to remove soot and creosote. Creosote buildup can result in a chimney fire. Because poor drafts cause the buildup to happen faster, consider putting a cap on your chimney to keep debris from blocking your flue.
4. Because A Carbon Monoxide Leak Is Serious
Another hazard associated with winter is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas produced by fuel-burning appliances like gas furnaces. Under normal circumstances, the amount produced isn’t enough to be worrisome and most of it will be vented outside. But a dirty or inefficient furnace can create dangerous levels.
Be sure to have your furnace serviced every fall to make sure it’s working properly and safely. It’s also wise to install carbon monoxide detectors near your furnace and water heater.
5. Because Heat Isn’t Cheap
Safety is important, but so is saving money. To find out where you might be losing heat, wet your hand and run it along the trim on your interior windows and doors. If you feel a breeze, fill the spaces with caulk. Keep your windows tightly locked — this not only helps keep thieves out, but it also prevents you from accidentally leaving the window cracked.
Make sure your heating ducts are insulated and properly connected. And keep your fireplace flue closed when not in use.