Fall is a beautiful time in Wisconsin, with leaves changing color and the lineup of holidays leading to the end of the year. But by the time we celebrate the last holiday and usher in the new year, winter will already be upon us.
With proper winter home preparation, however, you can protect your house from winter damage, such as roof leaks and cracked pipes. At Turnkey Homes LLC, we recommend performing the following simple tasks to get your home ready for the Wisconsin winter.
Prepare Your Home on the Outside First
The first step in winter home preparation is to start with a walk around the outside of your home. Because pipes can burst when sitting water freezes and expands, turn off outside faucets and sprinkler systems. Disconnect and drain the hoses as well. Check your home for any exposed pipes and insulate them. Examine your home’s exterior for proper drainage, including flower beds and landscaping, to confirm that water drains away properly from the house and property.
Look for gaps and cracks in the house’s foundation where water can settle and freeze, potentially damaging the structure. Stock up on salt or other de-icing materials to spread on steps, patios, and walkways to keep your outdoor areas safe.
Roof and Gutters
Check your roof for leaks and missing shingles and make repairs before the snow season starts. Clean out gutters and remove any blockages. Frozen water in blocked gutters can damage siding and trim, leading to leaks.
An important concern is preventing your roof from creating icicles and ice dams. An ice dam is an ice build-up on the eaves of sloped roofs of heated buildings. This results from melting snow under a snowpack reaching the eave and freezing there. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to leak into your house. Interior water damage leads to peeling paint, warped floors, mold and mildew, and stained, sagging ceilings. But by sealing air leaks, checking roof vents, and adding insulation, you can keep ice dams off your home.
Check Your Air Conditioner and Furnace
As you discontinue the use of the air conditioner for the season, perform some simple maintenance. Drain hoses and pipes, and make sure there is no excess water pooled in the equipment. If the A/C has a water shutoff valve, turn it off. Seal any water leaks. Now is also a good time to remove and store window A/C units to keep cold air from seeping in through the windows all winter.
Next, a big step in winter home preparation is getting the furnace ready for winter use. The first frigid cold front is not the time to find out the furnace is not working properly. Change the filter, which will maximize the flow of hot air. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.
It’s important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season, so make a note on your calendar to regularly address this task. Consider having the system checked and cleaned by an HVAC professional to confirm it is working properly and efficiently. Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated, and properly adjusted will reduce energy use and save on heating costs.
Examine the Chimney and Fireplace Closely
An open flue damper is like an open window, allowing vast amounts of heat from the home to escape. If you have a fireplace that you will not be using this winter, close the flue damper. Also, use a fireplace screen in front of the opening to keep the warm air from going up the chimney. For all fireplaces that you do plan to use, clean the chimneys before you begin regular use.
Winter Home Preparation on the Inside
There is no need to heat a room that is not in use during the winter. Closing vents to those rooms allows heat to distribute only to the rooms you need. For ceiling fans, change the rotation direction to clockwise, which will send warm air from the ceiling back down to the living space. Place draft guards along the base of doorways and windows. A rolled towel works well, but if you and the kids want to get crafty, make decorative ones out of fabric scraps and fill them with sand or kitty litter to add weight.
Examine all exterior doors and windows. Even small leaks increase heating costs, so give windows and exterior doors a tighter seal with fresh caulk and weather-stripping. Lastly, consider installing storm windows and doors, which will also save on heating costs and increase your home’s value.
These are just a few tasks to winter home preparation. Turnkey Homes LLC offers many professional services in addition to home building and remodeling. Contact us today to find out how we can help you prepare your home for winter. Contact us today or call and talk to a professional at (920) 470-4315.