We’ve finally arrived at part three in our series of winter-ready house and yard tips. It’s been a wild ride – from mowing to filter changes, we’ve tried to cover all the basics of getting your house ready for cold weather (and loads of snow)!
But of course, we have a few things left to do. We’re so close! Today we’re offering a list of small things you can do to get ready. Your heating system is prepped, your cooling system is properly stored, and your sump pump has been checked. So let’s talk about the things you can do inside your home.
- Draft checks! You can do this unofficially yourself – drafts are easy enough to feel, especially when the weather gets cold. If you want to really draft-proof your home, an energy audit is a great place to start. We’ll write more about energy audits in the coming weeks, but if you want to beat the rush, now is a great time to start prepping by calling Capital Heat. Drafts are likely to come from windows, doors, the basement, and any outside walls. And if you detect one, even temporary fixes can go a long way toward the comfort of your home. Caulking windows and wall leaks, weather stripping, and simple draft stoppers can do a great deal to stop drafts.
- Storm windows. This one is easy. You probably already have them, but they likely need to be switched out with the screens. Make sure they fit properly, and make sure screens (and storms) are stored properly during their off-season.
- Water heater. Water heaters benefit from occasional maintenance. You can have a professional come check it out, drain it, and clear it of any debris. It will add to the overall life of your water heater.
- Plumbing. Make sure exposed pipes are insulated. This will increase your hot water efficiency. This is also the time to make sure any exterior faucets are shut off. You (and everyone in your household) should know where the water main is in case of an emergency. Otherwise, you really are a disaster waiting to happen (and keep happening until someone who knows where the water main is shows up).
- Attic insulation. It’s time! It’s time! Finally, the moment of ice dams is upon us. We’ve been teasing this topic for weeks. So what are these ominous ice dams? Ice dams are thick ridges of ice that build up on the eaves of your house. How do these happen? We’ll tell you. Your attic insulation is at the cold heart of these icy menaces.Heat rises. So your attic heats the roof because the roof is the highest part of your house. But the eaves don’t heat, because physics doesn’t work that way. So snow melts off your roof and drips to the eaves, where it freezes because the eaves aren’t heated. This leads to gutters filled with ice and thick walls that prevent water from dripping off onto the ground. So where does this water go? It stays on your roof. Or, it leaks through your shingles and into your house, causing water damage that is both unsightly, a mold haven, and expensive to fix.So how do you prevent ice dams? First, an energy audit will help alert you if this is likely to be a problem. If it is, proper attic insulation is the best way to fix it. If the snow on the roof isn’t being heated, it won’t form ice dams.So those icicles hanging off your roof may be beautiful, but they’re a sign that a lot of heat is escaping through your roof. And they’re often a precursor to ice dams.
- Check your snowblower. Make sure it starts. Make sure it’s fueled. Make sure there aren’t any broken pieces and that the engine runs the way it should. The worst time to discover your snowblower is out of commission is during the first big snowstorm of the season. And we all know that can and has happened in October.
- On that note, make sure you have snow shovels and salt (or whatever you use to battle slippery steps, sidewalks and driveways). Again – the worst time to remember your trusty snow shovel cracked last year is during a snowstorm.
- Reverse your ceiling fans. We’ll finish on an easy ones. Ceiling fans either bring air to the ceiling or circulate air back down into the room. Make sure your ceiling fan is set for the right season and desired effect. We’ll end on an easy one!
That’s it! If you’ve been following along, by the time you complete this list you’ll be totally ready for winter. If you haven’t, you may have a moment in the next few months where you remember, “oh yeah…Capital Heat warned me about ice dams.”
The good news is, whether you call us preemptively or in an emergency, Capital Heat is always happy to assist you with any heating or cooling needs, and we’ll make sure our solution fits your home and family.
So now we’re all ready for winter. Which hopefully means that winter will dupe us all and wait until Christmas to hit.