By: Cris Jarrell
Winter is here and there are several things that need to be taken into consideration in order to maximize your homes enjoyment and minimize the damage winter can deliver. Here are several areas that you will need to check:
Furnace– Have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect your system to ensure it is operating at peak efficiently. Check the filters and change them at least monthly. Ensure the ductwork is secured and well insulated at all junctions. You may want to upgrade to a digital programmable thermostat.
Fireplaces- Have the firebox, damper, flue and cap inspected, and repaired if necessary, by a license chimney sweep. They are best at making sure your entire chimney system is functioning correctly.
Exterior doors, windows and siding– Inspect the siding and trim to make sure it is in good shape. Properly repair any holes or rotted areas to ensure water or pests can’t enter. Make sure the paint is fully protecting the wood it’s applied to. Caulk any open joints. Any cracks will allow moisture in. Check to see that all the windows and doors close tightly and replace seals as needed. If you have single pane windows, consider installing storm windows or new energy efficient replacement windows.
Plumbing- Remove water hoses from the outside sill faucets. This allows the water to drain and prevents the faucet from freezing and bursting. A condition you won’t realize until next Spring when you use the hose again. Insulate any outside water pipes to prevent freezing. If you haven’t done this before you may want to flush your hot water heater. This will remove sediment that collects in the lower portion of the heater and limits its ability to heat the water. If you have an irrigation system, have the water purged from the system to prevent freezing and damage to the valves and backflow preventer.
Roofing and Gutters- Have a roofing contractor inspect your roof and look for any cracked or missing shingles and for failing or missing flashing. He can also give you a report on the condition of the roof and give tips on how to prolong its life. Have the gutters cleaned. The downspouts and any underground pipes need to be flushed to ensure proper water control. This will help prevent leaking basements and crawlspaces.
Safety- Replace the batteries in the smoke detectors and test each one. Also make sure one is installed in each bedroom and on each floor with a bedroom if you live within the city limits of Winston-Salem. It is their code and just makes sense. If you have gas heating or cooking sources install a CO detector and test it. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and it is in good working order.
Winterizing your home is an ongoing part of home ownership. Inspecting your home in the spring and winter pays off by reducing power bills and prolonging the function of many components within the home. Don’t let small problems turn into larger issues which will require much more time and money to repair than if they were discovered and dealt with now.