6 ways to prepare your home for winter

Winter is in full swing, and just as you prepare your wardrobe for the season change, it’s also very important to prepare your home. It’s a good idea to spend some time in the late fall to go through your home and winterize your biggest asset. Failing to do so can result in expensive and aggravating repairs which may occur in the middle of the winter or reveal themselves in the spring when it’s too late. Here are some simple yet important items to look at before the deep freeze gets fully underway.

1) Check for drafts

Small gaps or cracks around windows and door frames may seem insignificant, but if left unattended, can run up your heating bill over time. It’s a good idea to go around the interior of all your door and window frames with a BBQ lighter (please use caution when using fire!) and look for the flame to flicker. If it does, you might have a leak. Applying caulking to these areas will eliminate the issue.

2) Divert exterior water

Whether you have a rain barrel or a traditional downspout, these areas can become dangerous from ice formations during the winter months. To eliminate this hazard, redirect the water away from walk ways, pathways and driveways. It’s also a good idea to apply salt or sand to these areas regularly.

3) Turn ceiling fans to reverse

Most people ignore these money savers in the winter. Turning your ceiling fan to reverse (clockwise) will create an updraft which will pull the heated air up and circulate it throughout the room (just like a convection oven). As a result, you are not wasting energy heating the air above you and the ceilings.

4) Clean your gutters

Gutters can result in a huge headache in the middle of winter, with the bunched up wet leaves left over from the fall freeze causing a blockage. When the weather warms up and the ice from your roof melts, the blockage prevents the water from draining efficiently. If climbing a ladder to clean your gutters isn’t your idea of a fun Saturday afternoon, there are plenty of professionals that you can call.

5) Shut off exterior water

Water expands when it freezes and can cause a lot of damage if left in your exterior water supplies. By code, all exterior supplies have a shut-off valve inside the home and a drain valve. It is very important to shut off and drain the lines before the winter freeze. Failing to do so can result in significant water damage which may be undetected for a long period of time. The same goes for garden hoses and irrigation systems.

6) Change your furnace filter

You should change your furnace filter at the start of every season; the winter is no exception. These are the lungs of your house and should be kept in top form. Blocked filters will cause your HVAC system to work overtime to provide the heat your home will demand. While you’re at it, check your humidifier filter to ensure that it’s not blocked and in good condition. It is a good idea to run your humidifier throughout the winter to counteract the dry air produced by your furnace.

Marko Furlani is the owner and President of Urbanest Construction.