According to Realtor.com, the damage that Hurricane Matthew’s high winds and flooding wreaked on the Southeastern U.S. coast racked up a price tag of property damage totaling $3 billion to $4.5 billion. While in the Midwest, we are safe from many natural disasters, one of the biggest potential weather threats to your home is the extreme cold temperatures, snow and ice that we see every winter.
October is already halfway over and we are beginning to feel the chill in the air. Here are 5 tips to prepare your home for the coming cold season:
1. Clean your gutters
Your home gutters don’t need to be clear simply for spring and summer rain showers. Leaves and grime that have built up in your gutters can clog them and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. These ice dams can lead to water seeping into your home and cause all sorts of issues and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. When you clean your gutters also take the time to run a hose through the gutters to check for misalignments that could also cause water damage.
2. Show your furnace some love
If you’re like us, you probably wait to turn your furnace on until it’s so cold you can barely feel your toes anymore. With that long of a break between turning your furnace on, it is important to show your furnace some love. Clean your furnace annually each fall, cleaning out sediment build-up that can cause your system to work less efficiently or potentially become a fire-hazard, and have it inspected to reduce the risks. Don’t forget to change your filter regularly during the winter; a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency.
3. Ducts in a row
Don’t forget about your air ducts, often tucked away in the attic or basement. A home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more!
4. Check out the roof
Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow. If need be, hire a handyman to repair a few shingles or a roofer for a larger section. Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too. Rake or blow off fall leaves and pine needles, which hold moisture.
5. Seal the windows and doors
If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you should reapply exterior caulk. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements. Check window-glazing putty, as well, as add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
Take the extra steps now to prepare your home for the winter and prevent both high energy costs and damage to your home. Looking for other great tips for home care? Check out the Fazendin blog for tips on buying or selling a home and home care.