For the northern portion of the United States, freezing temperatures are right around the corner as we progress through Autumn and into Winter. With chilling temperatures, comes the potential for costly damage to your property. As a proactive property owner, it's essential to take steps to prepare and protect your home before the cold sets in. Not only will this safeguard your property from the harsh elements, but it will also help you save on heating costs. In this article, we'll share 11 valuable tips to help you weather the winter ahead while keeping your home and wallet in great shape.
- Insulate your pipes
One of the most crucial steps in preparing for freezing temperatures is insulating your pipes. Wrap exposed pipes with foam insulation sleeves available at any hardware store. By doing so, you reduce the risk of freezing pipes and the potential for costly water damage. Don't forget to target and continually monitor pipes in basements, attics, and crawl spaces – those are the most vulnerable areas.
- Check Attic Insulation
Check your attic status to make sure there's no insulation impeding soffits or attic vents. Free-flowing air in an attic can prevent warm air from melting the snow on the roof, where it can run down to refreeze at the roof edges and lead to ice dams and other water leakage related issues.
- Seal air leaks
Drafts not only make your home uncomfortable but also cause your heating bill to skyrocket. Inspect doors, windows, and other potential air leak sources for gaps, and seal them with weatherstripping or caulking. You'll keep the warm air in and the cold air out, reducing the strain on your heating system and ultimately saving money.
- Service your heating system
A well-maintained heating system is essential for optimal performance during winter. Schedule a professional service appointment to inspect, clean, and tune up your furnace or heat pump. Regular maintenance ensures that your system operates efficiently and reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns when you need it most.
- Clean your gutters
As temperatures drop, it's essential to clear your gutters of leaves, debris, and other obstructions. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, causing water to seep into your home and potentially causing extensive damage to your roof, walls, and interior. Regularly cleaning your gutters will keep water flowing freely and prevent costly repairs down the line.
- Trim tree branches
Be proactive about potential tree-related damage by trimming branches that may pose a risk to your property during winter storms. Branches become more brittle in cold temperatures and heavy snow or ice can cause branches to break and damage your home or surrounding structures. Hire a professional if necessary to ensure the job is done safely and effectively.
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses
To prevent frozen and burst pipes, remove any outdoor hoses, drain the remaining water, and store them indoors. Shut off the valves to outdoor faucets and consider installing insulated faucet covers for added protection. Taking these simple steps can save you from costly pipe repairs and water damage.
- Protect your outdoor plants
Don't forget about your landscaping during the winter season. Keep your shrubs, trees, and delicate plants protected from frost damage by wrapping them together with burlap or installing temporary covers. Additionally, move potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area to keep them safe from freezing temperatures.
- Monitor your thermostat settings
Set your thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable for you and your household, but not excessively high. Every degree lower can lead to significant savings on your heating bill. Consider using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature when you're away, further optimizing your energy consumption.
- Stock up on winter essentials
Before the first freeze hits, make sure you're well-prepared with essential supplies. Stock up on de-icing salt, snow shovels, and sandbags to prevent slips and falls around your property. Having these items on hand will save you from a last-minute rush and potential scarcity during winter storms.
- Drip water at colder temperatures
Faucets that are located on exterior walls, especially those that have lackluster insulation pose a risk of freezing at extreme cold temperatures. Running faucets with both the cold and warm water lines open at a slow drip in below freezing temperatures can prevent those pipes from freezing and potentially bursting. Opening cabinet doors can also better expose those pipes to ambient warm air from your home to also protect against freezing.
Taking a proactive approach to property maintenance before freezing temperatures arrive is a smart move that can save you money and protect your home from costly damages. By following these 11 tips, you'll be well-prepared for winter, ensuring a cozy and worry-free season while keeping more money in your pocket. Remember, the effort you put in now will pay off in the long run, both in terms of property protection and energy savings. Stay warm and enjoy the winter season with peace of mind!