As the weather turns colder, homeowners should be reminded that winter is coming and now is the time to prepare the house for the cold, rough weather ahead. Although there are a lot of ways you can protect your home from the harsh winter weather, some items are more important than others, such as inspecting your gas hot water system.
A little preparation now can save you a lot of hassles later, and potentially save you a lot of money along the way. Here’s what you need to do for the various systems in your home before winter arrives.
The Furnace And Other Major Systems
You should have an inspection of your furnace performed before you use it for the first time this winter. Change the filter in your oven (and continue to change it every one to three months, depending on use). You should also have your hot water tank inspected and insulated to protect it from the elements and improve the hot water quality during even the coldest months of the year.
Have your central air unit serviced one final time before shutting it off for the winter months. Then, get a cover or tarp for the AC unit itself to keep out leaves, snow and ice, and other debris. This will guarantee that it’s clean and ready to go next spring.
Windows And Doors
If you’ve got drafty windows and doors, you should look into weather-stripping and additional insulation. If your windows are really old or let in a lot of outside air, you may want to consider covering them with the shrink film during the winter to keep the heat in and lower your energy bills. There are winter insulation kits and special door and window weather-stripping kits to help you keep out as many drafts as possible.
Frozen pipes are one of the biggest winter nightmares for many homeowners. If you know that your pipes need heat tape or additional insulation, add it now so that you’re not crawling around under the house in the middle of winter trying to fix a bigger problem. Also, make sure that the thermostat in your house stays about 55 degrees, even if you aren’t going to be home so that the pipes don’t burst while you’re out of town on holiday.
You should take all the outdoor furniture and put it in storage for the winter. Whether this is in the garage, a shed, or by renting a storage unit, it needs to be secured and away from the elements for protection.
Bring in all of your garden hoses, planters, and metal tools that could freeze or rust in the snow and ice. Invest in covers to protect your plants during the winter. Finally, clean the gutters and install gutter covers (if you haven’t already) to keep ice from building up and causing damage.
Most of the items shouldn’t take a lot of time and effort on your part. At the very least, pay attention to the more expensive and necessary systems in your home, such as your furnace and your gas hot water system. Getting them ready for winter can save a lot of mid-season emergencies and big repair bills.
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