Each fall, many homeowners go through a checklist of things to do to get their home ready for wintertime. Unfortunately, important items are sometimes left off the list. Here are a few things you'll want to make sure you've taken care of before we get too far into winter.
- Clean the Gutters. Cleaning the gutters of your home means removing the leaves, twigs, mud, and other debris collected in them. When your gutters are clean, rainwater and melting snow can travel through the downspouts and away from your home. This can prevent ice dams from forming and damaging your roof. You may want to hire a professional to clean your gutters because it can be a hazardous job. But if you're a DIYer, you can put on a pair of work gloves and climb a ladder to remove the debris from your gutters. Remember to have a trash can below you to collect the wet leaves, sticks, etc. Also, be sure to enlist a friend to keep the ladder steady for you as you climb.
- Service the Furnace. Before the temperatures drop, you want to know that the furnace is going to work when you need it. Servicing your furnace starts with replacing its filter. When air flows freely through the filter, your furnace is able to work more efficiently. High heating bills can occur if your furnace is working harder than it needs to due to a clogged air filter. I suggest buying a package of air filters and labeling them for each season, so you remember to put a fresh one in at the right time. Performing a test to evaluate the accuracy of the thermostat is another way to make sure your furnace is ready for winter. Consider calling an HVAC company to arrange a basic checkup of your furnace. Getting a basic checkup now can prevent a furnace malfunction in the middle of winter.
- Reverse the Ceiling Fans. Did you know that reversing the direction of a ceiling fan can contribute to the warmth in your home? In the wintertime, make sure your ceiling fan is turning clockwise. This moves the heat near the ceiling down into the room. Every ceiling fan has a switch on it somewhere on the motor housing that you can click to change the direction of the paddles. Making this simple adjustment to your ceiling fan can help you reduce the amount of times you engage the furnace. This can result in lower heating bills this winter!
- Inspect the Roof. Stand in your yard and look at the sides of your roof. Missing or damaged shingles allow rain and melted ice to get under your roof, causing mold and damage. Also, heat from your home can be lost due to damaged shingles. If you like to take on DIY projects, you can use a ladder to climb up and replace damaged or missing shingles. Sheets of shingles can be purchased at hardware stores. If you're leery about getting up on a ladder and walking on your roof, there are professionals who can replace damaged shingles in a short amount of time.
- Inspect the Air Ducts. Air ducts can be found in attics, basements, and elsewhere in a home. Sometimes, an air duct can separate from a wall, allowing warm air to escape or cold air to enter. Using duct mastic for repairs is one solution if you find an air duct that's separated from a wall. Repairing loose or separated air ducts also prevents squirrels, mice, raccoons, and other animals from gaining access to your home and doing damage.
If you've overlooked one of these five tasks, there is still time to check it off the list before winter sets in. Thanks for reading! - Alan