Winterizing Check List
Hello All, Can you believe it is that time of year! Thanksgiving is just around the corner and life gets pretty busy during the holiday season. I thought it would be good to go through a check list for preparing for winter. This a pretty lengthy process so I am breaking it up over a couple of weeks.
Week No. One
1. Clean those gutters
Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home’s gutters — by hand, by scraper or spatula, and finally by a good hose rinse — so that winter’s rain and melting snow can drain. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house, the Insurance Information Institute says.
As you’re hosing out your gutters, look for leaks and misaligned pipes. Also, make sure the downspouts are carrying water away from the house’s foundation, where it could cause flooding or other water damage.
2. Block those leaks
One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out. First, find the leaks: On a breezy day, walk around inside holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames.
Then, buy door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk or apply tacky rope caulk to those drafty spots. Gaskets can easily be installed in electrical outlets that share a home’s outer walls, where cold air often enters.
Outside, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk or foam. For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will better stand up to freezing and thawing. Even if it’s a small crack, it’s worth sealing up. If ice builds up in the crack it could cause an even larger problem to handle next year. It also discourages any insects from entering your home.
3. Insulate yourself
“Another thing that does cost a little money — but boy, you do get the money back quick — is adding insulation to the existing insulation in the attic. “Regardless of the climate conditions you live in, in the (U.S.) you need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.”
Don’t bother yourself with R-values or measuring tape, though. Rule of thumb is “If you go into the attic and you can see the ceiling joists you know you don’t have enough, because a ceiling joist is at most 10 or 11 inches.”
TIP: If you’re layering insulation atop other insulation, don’t use the kind that has “kraft face” finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier, and can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
4. Check the furnace
Begin by turning your furnace on now, to make sure it’s even working, before the coldest weather hits. This is a very good way to avoid an emergency call to the furnace man. A strong, odd, short-lasting smell is natural when firing up the furnace in the autumn; simply open windows to dissipate it. If the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional.
This also would be a good time to change your filters if you hadn’t done that in the spring. You should change the furnace filters regularly (check them monthly). A dirty filter impedes air flow, reduces efficiency and could even cause a fire in an extreme case. Toss out the dirty fiberglass filters; reusable electrostatic or electronic filters can be washed.
5. Get your ducts in a row
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That’s a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Ducts also should be vacuumed once every few years, to clean out the abundant dust, animal hair and other gunk that can gather in them and cause respiratory problems.
Well that is if for the first 5 things on the Check list. Good luck getting started. Definitely take into consideration the savings you can incur by winterizing and preventing future problems.
Get the family involved and it will go quickly!
Blessings for your week.