Many homeowners think preparing for winter involves turning off the sprinklers and switching the thermostat from cool to heat. However, you can put your home at serious risk if you don’t take the proper steps to get your home winter ready—especially if you live in a climate like the Northeast. Fall is behind us, but it’s not too late to make sure your home is ready for colder weather.
Here are eight essential tips:
- Make sure your furnace is working properly. It’s a good idea to have a technician service your furnace once a year. At a minimum, replace the air filters in all of the furnace access doors yearly (or more often if you have pets or have done any construction recently).
- Winterize your air conditioner. If it’s unlikely that you’ll need your air conditioner between now and next spring, clean it off and cover the condensing unit of your air conditioner, located outside. This will help extend the life of the unit.
- Check the chimney and fireplace. Especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure things are in good working condition. The flue should open and close fully and the chimney draft needs to be totally clear before you light any fires. Call a professional if needed.
- Insulate exposed pipes. Burst pipes can cause all kinds of expensive and messy headaches. Make sure pipes in cold places (such as crawl spaces or on exterior walls) are covered in foam or insulated in some way.
- Turn off all exterior water faucets. Your hose faucet must be turned off so that there’s no water supply coming from inside the house through the winter months. Disconnect all hoses as well and store them away after you’ve drained them. For an extra step, you could also insulate the hose bibb.
- Check windows and doors for air leaks. Cold air should stay outside! Check your windows, walls, and doors to make sure there are no leaks. If located near rooms like bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchens, air leaks could cause pipes to freeze. Weatherstripping is an inexpensive solution you can do yourself.
- Flush your water heater tank. Over time, water heaters collect sediment, which can cause them to not work properly. A malfunctioning water heater during winter is not ideal. Drain the water in the tank and refill it with clean water. Insulate the hot water heater’s pipes with pipe insulation or tape and consider wrapping the entire tank with an insulation blanket.
- Get those gutters cleaned. Icicles are pretty to look at but trust us: you don’t want them hanging off your house. Gutters clogged with leaves and other debris lead to ice dams. When the temperature rises, those dams can easily seep into your house through windows and small spaces on your roof.
When the temperature drops outside, it’s important to make sure your home is ready.
Every winter, we receive many calls from homeowners who have had a pipe burst and flood their home, causing lots of damage and stress. A little prevention can make all the difference, so make sure you take the right steps now to protect your home this winter.
If something does go wrong, however, call AOA Cleaning & Restoration at 201-848-8600. Our team will get your home back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood or other home disaster.