Fall has been here for quite some time and it’s high time to prepare your home for winter if you haven’t already done it so. Snow during Christmas is something we all expect with a thrill, but heavy snows, storms and extreme cold can cause serious issues such as burst pipes and roof damage. Increased energy use is another drawback of winter that will cause a rise in your monthly bills and significantly affect your wallet. The checklist of all things that need to be done may be long, but these steps will help you save energy, lower the bills and increase comfort, warmth and safety during the winter months.
Improving the insulation
The first step in cutting down monthly bills is determining where the energy leaks are coming from. Home energy audit is the way to evaluate home’s energy efficiency and learn how much energy your home consumes. Then, you can take necessary steps to reduce that energy waste. Investing in high-quality wall and roof insulation is the best way to improve home’s energy efficiency in the long run, especially if you’re an owner of a modular or a kit home. Invest in the quality, green insulation and your utility bills will thank you!
Fixing the air leaks
Air leaks are one of the main causes of heat loss. Cracks around doors, windows, electrical boxes, attic hatches are reducing the effectiveness of your heating system and they cause a drop in temperature in the winter months. Checking your home for air leaks is relatively simple: just hold a smoke pen next to all potential leaks, and if the smoke travels horizontally, you have stumbled upon an air leak. Caulking and weatherstripping are the best methods of sealing, and the silicone caulk is the best material for sealing exterior leaks.
Shorter days and less sunlight mean that you need to spend more energy on lighting, both indoor and outdoor. Luckily, you don’t need to wander around the house in the dark in order to save money and energy – it’s enough to use energy-efficient light bulbs (LED and CFL) which will decrease your home’s operational costs. When you’re buying outdoor lights, make sure that you choose those that can endure rain and snow and come with motion sensors (for increased savings).
Sealing and cleaning the air ducts
Most people are unaware of the fact that 20 percent of hot air is lost during the winter months, due to improperly sealed duct system. Don’t make such a mistake – if you have the central heating, always make sure that you seal and insulate your ducts. Also, replacing the air filters will still leave all debris and filth in the ducts, so they need to be thoroughly cleaned in order to increase the duct system’s efficiency.
Cleaning the rain gutters
Cleaning gutters from all the leaves and grime that have been accumulated during summer and fall is a necessity and something that will prevent clogging, forming of ice dams and water leaks. You can do this easily by yourself (if you’re not afraid of heights) and you’ll save a substantial sum of money. Gutter guards are a good alternative to regular cleaning – it’s a helpful product that reduces the need for regular cleaning and prevents damage caused by clogged gutters.
Checking the heating system
Making sure that your heating system is in order and working before winter is a must. Schedule the checkup and maintenance of your chimney, fireplace, furnace or venting system. Although some things from this list can be done without consulting the expert, we recommend calling the technician to check if the system is clean and with no carbon-monoxide leakage. Be aware that lots of households will schedule this checkup, so it would be wise to do this during early autumn. You can inspect your fireplace first and then call a chimney cleaning service.
Get your roof ready
An annual inspection of the roof is recommended as even the small damage may lead to huge issues that’s hard to fix later. Roof shingles may become damaged and missing over time, and this may cause leaks due to melting snow or heavy rain. If this is the case, roofer should replace the shingles immediately. Breaks in flashing around chimneys and vent stack should be repaired too, as these are the most vulnerable areas on the roof. Flat roofs should be maintained by sweeping the leaves off them, to prevent the moisture and condensation problems. Also, the roof cleaning is essential since it’s going to remove moss and lichen.