Preparing your home for winter will help it get through the season intact and keep your heating costs in line. All you might need are some basic maintenance tasks, or there could be home improvements that would cut your heating costs and enhance your comfort.
Service the Heating Equipment
Have your heating system and fireplace serviced. Professional maintenance is particularly important if you use a combustible fuel to heat your home. Over time, the gases can leave deposits behind that not only impede heating but also pose a fire hazard. If you burn wet or green wood in your fireplace or wood stove, you have a higher risk of chimney fires because of creosote deposits. All gas furnaces and boilers should be cleaned and adjusted for their most efficient and safest operation.
Deal with the Windows
If you use storm windows to prevent drafts and add a layer of insulation, don’t delay hanging them. They will prevent some of the warm air from your home from seeping outside. Other options besides storm windows include thermal window treatments or high-efficiency windows. The latter will give you year-round protection from temperature extremes without blocking your view, so if you’re considering a home addition or a room upgrade, this is a home renovation item worth considering. In terms of home improvements, they could increase the value of your home since windows make it measurably more energy efficient. They also deaden the noise from the outdoors and can be architecturally pleasing. A remodeling contractor is a good source of information about the value of window replacements.
Inspect the Attic
Before the serious cold of winter descends, inspect the condition of the attic, particularly if you’ve had ice dams on your roof in previous years. The dams indicate that your attic lacks insulation or has substantial air leaks from the ceilings. Ice dams form when warm temperatures from the attic melt the snow on the roof. As the water trickles down, it may freeze at the eaves. If enough accumulates, an ice dam forms. Not only are they dangerous for people walking by, but they’re also a major structural problem. The attic should have between 10 and 20 inches of insulation inside it to keep heat from escaping through the roof. Look for gaps around fans or recessed lights that protrude into the attic for air leaks. Using a professional contractor to seal the leaks and add insulation is one of the home improvements that will pay for itself in a short time.
Inspect the gutters and clear away any vegetation. Once you’re finished, run water down the gutters with the hose to make sure they’re completely clear. When you’re finished, turn off the hose at the spigot and drain it. Disconnect the hose and store it in the garage or basement.
Your home will perform better this winter when you button it up against the weather. The attention you give its most vulnerable components, whether through home improvement projects or basic maintenance, will pay for themselves in lower heating bills and dependable comfort. If your plans include a larger renovation project, Alair Homes is here to help. Contact us to discuss your ideas and learn more about energy saving features worth adding to your home when you renovate.