Mother Nature has a way of gently reminding us to do certain things. She provides us with beautiful fall color as a subtle way of saying – ahem, seasonal change is coming, and you might want to think about what’s next. But we get all ga-ga over the pretty colors and sometimes we forget. So, she gets a bit more forceful, with heavy late-autumn rains and blustery winds, and we start to get the point. If we’re smart, it’s a wake-up call reminding us to ready our homes for winter.
The cardinal rule in preparing a house for the cold is to do it while it’s relatively warm and pleasant. There’s nothing quite so unpleasant as to be outside in the ice and snow trying to winterize. So, simply said – let’s get on it, and we at Nathan Fitts & Team have put together a few tips to help you out.
Inspect your home inside and out. It might sound weird, but binoculars could be a key tool in this process. Use them to look at your house from the outside. With binocs you get a close-up view of shingles that need to be replaced and gutters that need to be cleaned. You can also check out the chimney and identify repair work that needs to be done. On the inside, just be thorough. An energy audit is one option, but you can also do it yourself. Cracked glass, leaky windows, exposed insulation – they’re all tell-tale signs of minor work that needs to be done.
We’re not just talking about that pink stuff that looks like cotton candy here. You have options. Maybe the hot water heater needs a new winter coat, and that draft under the door can be addressed with something as simple as a store-bought or hand-made sweep – also known as draft guards. Caulk is your friend, and several companies make relatively inexpensive plastic sheeting that seals windows quickly and easily. Surprisingly, window insulation film can keep up to 70% of heat from leaking out the windows.
Just as we’re trying to prepare for the winter chill, so are nature’s critters, and your house might be a target for those who would prefer to be toasty warm rather than living in holes in tree trunks. Rake leaves and debris away from your foundation to check for access points to the great indoors – and seal those. That’s not being inhospitable, just smart.
Even in relatively moderate winter climates, storms bringing high winds and ice can knock out power. It’s best to be ready with indoor candles and matches/lighters for use during a power outage. If you have a wood stove or fireplace, make sure the wood is stored someplace dry.
Service the HVAC
This is one of those you’ll wish you’d done when those leaves were pretty, but if you get on a regular service schedule – spring and fall – all will be well. There’s still time though, and it’s important. You might also consider adding a programmable thermostat to your system, allowing you to turn down the heat at night, without even thinking about it. Our friend, James Thomas with James Thomas Heating and Cooling are experts in the industry and can help you out with any questions or service needs.
This one is easy, inexpensive, and remarkably effective. If you’re on a monthly filter replacement schedule, you’re already in good shape.
Enjoy Peace of Mind
With some attention to detail, and minding the small stuff, you can enjoy the joys of winter rather than fighting it. There’s nothing quite so tranquil as a beautiful blanket of fresh snow – especially around the holidays. It’s the perfect reward for work you’ve done to prepare.