Oh the weather outside is frightful………But the fire is so delightful……….until your pipes freeze, your furnace goes out and your fireplace starts smoking. Who invited the Grinch?
Here are some quick, cost effective tips to help you winterize your house.
Exterior of your House
Unhook your garden hose from the faucet and drain the water out.
Buy a $2 faucet protector. This protects your faucet from cold air getting into your pipes that could cause your pipes to burst.
Blow out and drain your sprinkler system (you can call the company who installed them to come out to winterize them)
Clean your gutters. Water that is not draining properly through your gutters is leaking down to your foundation. This can cause serious foundation problems.
Check for small cracks around windows, doors, dryer vents, fireplaces, and anywhere there is an opening to outside. This can be sealed easily with a tube of caulk and can save you hundreds of dollars in heating costs. For drafty doors, you can apply weather stripping to add an extra seal. According to the US Department of Energy, by sealing uncontrolled air leaks, you can save 10%–20% on your heating and cooling bills.
Trim tree branches that are hanging over your house or close to your house. Do it now before ice and snow cause them to break onto your roof. This will save you money in roof repairs.
Clean up any leaves or debris around your house and especially around the foundation. This will not only help with freezing water sitting on your foundation, but also keep rodents from nesting during the colder weather.
Replace your summer screens on doors with storm doors (glass).
Get a chimney Inspection to make sure your chimney is sealed and ready to go for your fireplace.
Interior of your House
Make sure your carbon monoxide alarms have fresh batteries. Test each one to make sure it still works.
Program your thermostat. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% per year on heating by turning your thermostat down 7°–10°F for 8 hours a day. (If you have a heat pump, don’t do this without a smart or programmable thermostat designed for use with heat pumps.)
Change your filters on your furnace once a month; or as recommended on your system.
Wipe down and clean your vents. Do not block them with furniture or carpets.
Use your ceiling fans to help push the heat down from the ceiling. In winter, set your fan to run clockwise and force warm air down. (Opposite for summer, set the fan to run counter-clockwise)
Schedule a furnace tune-up and have it serviced now before a big freeze.
Schedule a fireplace, or wood stove inspection. Check the flue to make sure there are no birds nests or debris blocking the opening.