Wheatland Realty Agent Nicole Tudisco offers advice to help keep the “chill out” and the “heat in” your home during the cold winter months.
It’s that time of the year again! You have probably pulled your sweaters out of the attic and retrieved your mittens, scarfs and puffy coats from the basement to help keep you warm. But what about your house? Is it prepared for the cold months ahead?
You will be a lot more comfortable in the coming months if you have prepared Home Sweet Home for Old Man Winter.
Here are five tips that should keep you and your family toasty and comfy as the cold wind blows outside!
1. Block those leaks around your house, both inside and out!
First, find the leaks. The most common drafty areas are around recessed lighting, window and door frames and electrical outlets.
Then, buy door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk those drafty spots around electrical outlets and lighting fixtures.
Outside, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk. For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will stand up better to freezing and thawing.
2. Check the furnace!
First, turn on your furnace. If a strong, odd odor comes out briefly, don’t worry! It is totally normal, especially during the Fall months. However, if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional immediately!
Also, it’s a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned once a year.. Costs will often run about $100-$125.
Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly. A dirty filter can cause restriction in the flow of air, reduces efficiency and could even cause a fire in an extreme case.
3. Don’t forget about the chimney!
Ideally, September is the perfect month to get your chimney checked….. It’s now November, but no fear, it’s not too late!
Depending on how much you use your chimney, you may need a full cleaning or just an inspection. The rule of thumb is an inspection once a year and a full cleaning every 2-3 years. You never know what will be found in your chimney so it’s super important to get it inspected before your first fire. (Make sure you open the damper before your first fire, just in case it was closed during the cleaning and inspection.)
Also, buy a protective cap for your chimney, with a screen. It’s probably the single easiest protection because it keeps out no-no objects, like birds or other animals.
4. Wrap your pipes!
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Before a freezing night hits, make certain that the water to your hose bibs are shut off inside your house, and that the lines are drained.
Next, check other pipes that aren’t insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces. For instance, pipes that run through crawlspaces, basements or garages. Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves, which are available at most hardware stores. Another option is to wrap the pipe with heating tape.
4. Finally and most importantly, check those alarms!!!
This is a great time to change the batteries and make sure your smoke alarm and radon detectors are working. Test them with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the “test” button. Also, check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
I can not stress this last step enough. It could be the difference between life and death in many cases!
Keep yourself warm and safe this winter by following these simple tasks. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Nicole and Tony