Before winter hits your home, it’s crucial to prepare for the long, cold haul. If you’re looking for ways to stay snug as a bug all season, this article is here to help. From updating your HVAC system to insulating your attic space and more, we offer helpful tips to prepare your home for the chill to come.
Winter should be filled with holiday cheer and cozy nights by the fire, not endless hours of shivering discomfort. Let’s dive into the top five ways you can ensure your home is ready to keep your family warm despite frosty temperatures outside.
1. Service or Update Your Heating Unit
One of the best ways to prepare your home for the cold is to get your HVAC system into tip-top shape. Your heating unit may not have been touched since last winter, so it’s vital to have it serviced by a professional. Dirty, clogged air filters make it hard for your furnace to work efficiently, so one thing your technician will do is change your unit’s filter. In fact, filters should be replaced at least every three months.
After a professional inspection, you may even find that your system is on the verge of requiring replacement. Signs your heating unit needs to be replaced include old age or poor air quality. You may notice your furnace is making strange noises or emitting unpleasant smells, especially if it’s 15 years old or older. If you notice any of these signs, be sure to call a professional to repair your unit or discuss installing a new one.
2. Caulk Your Drafty Windows
Winterizing your windows is another effective method for staying warm at home during the frigid temps. Drafty windows let cold air into your house and allow warm air to escape, contributing to wasted energy. Check windows for signs that new caulking is needed, such as loose panes or dry pieces of caulk broken away.
Furthermore, if your window panes rattle, your caulking is likely worn out, and water may enter through the gaps. In this case, you may see water damage to the wooden frames. By adding new caulking to your windows, you can prevent further damage to your home and keep cold drafts at bay. A couple of hours with a caulk gun can yield a much cozier home.
3. Insulate Your Attic Space
When your attic lacks sufficient insulation, warm air can easily escape from your home. Not only does this make it difficult to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, but you’re also squandering energy. Before the cold weather hits, then, check your attic space to determine whether you need to add insulation.
Low insulation levels, especially insulation that sits below the attic floor joists, are a sure sign your attic’s insulation needs topping up. It’s also important to check for water spots on your ceiling and indications of attic pests. If you see rodent droppings, holes in batts, or other pest or water damage, eradicate the intruders, seal leaks, and replace any damaged insulation. Finally, if your old insulation is crumbling or no longer up to code, replace it with new insulation promptly. All these issues with your attic insulation must be addressed to ensure your home keeps you warm during the winter.
4. Clean or Replace Your Gutters
When it comes to a dismally cold home, gutters may not be the most obvious culprit. However, their upkeep definitely contributes to keeping your home dry and warm. Clogged or damaged gutters can cause water leaks and ice dams that will damage the home-warming insulation you just installed.
To inspect your gutters, look for any rust, holes, cracks, or gaps in your gutters. These issues may also contribute to leaks, which can cause puddles on the ground or wet spots on the walls. By addressing issues with your home’s gutters, you can prevent ice dams and water leaks that would otherwise make your home uncomfortable this winter.
5. Inspect the Roof
Besides your attic, the roof is another part of your home that plays a crucial role in insulation and keeping the heat inside. If your roof is damaged, it can let warm air escape and make it difficult to maintain comfortable indoor temps. It will almost certainly also allow water in, damaging attic insulation and enabling the growth of mildew and mold.
Signs your roof needs repair include brown water spots on your ceilings or interior walls. You should also have the roof inspected for holes, loose shingle granules, and missing shingles. If you take care of your roof and make sure it’s in good repair, your home will be properly prepared for winter. That will keep you both warm and dry throughout the cold season.
Prepare Your Home to Stay Comfortable This Winter
Unless you live down south — and often even then — winter is cold, or at least colder. You need to prepare your home for it so you can stay snug as a bug this year.
Luckily, there are steps you can still take to ensure your family’s comfort before the truly frigid weather rolls around. From having your HVAC system professionally serviced to inspecting your gutters and roof, these measures will keep you warm and dry all season long.