The cold weather is upon us, that means it’s time to begin the home maintenance for fall and winter. Most of the work that needs to be done can be accomplished by yourself. Follow these tips and you will surely lower those utility bills and protect your investment!
- Tune up your heating system
- For around $80 to $100, a technician can inspect your furnace and/or heat pump to make sure it is in tip-top condition. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.
- Reverse your ceiling fans
- If your ceiling fans have a reverse switch, flip it! The opposite motion of the fan will produce an updraft; This pushes hot air from the ceiling downward. This might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a few degrees for bigger energy savings!
- Prevent ice dams
- Ice dams create serious damage each year to unsuspecting victims. Melt water from all those beautiful icicles back up and flow into your home through tiny openings. This causes structural damage and insecurity from water logged wood in your home. To prevent this kind of damage from happening, you can call a weatherization contractor or energy auditor who can identify and fix any air leaks you may have.
- Check the roof
- Scan your roof with binoculars, looking for damaged, loose or missing shingles. These leak during winter storms and melting snow, cause damage and ice dams. Check around vent stacks and chimneys as well. If you have a flat roof, make sure you blow off leaves and pine needles which can hold in water.
- Caulk around windows and doors
- If you can slide a nickel between sliding window or door frames, it is time to re-caulk. This will hold in the heat and keep out moisture, saving you money in the long run.
- Clean the gutters
- Cleaning the gutters is super important. If left unattended, debris can build up and allow water to back up into the house. It can also ruin siding, wood trim, and can rip off siding if they fall (from too much weight.)
- Divert Water
- Adding extensions and downspouts away from the foundation of the home saves you from flooding. The water can pool up around the foundation and enter the house through small divots and cracks.
- Turn off Exterior Faucets
- When water freezes, it expands. If there is any water left over in hoses or faucets, once it freezes it will cause the pipes to burst. This causes an even bigger problem then before. If you house if more then 10 years old, turn off the shut-off valve inside the home to insure pipe safety.
- Drain your lawn-irrigation system
- Mulch leaves when you mow
- Mowing your leaves instead of carrying them away after raking will create a homemade mulch that will nourish your lawn over the winter. You can buy a special lawn mower blade for around $15.
- Prepare to stow your mower
- As lawn mowers sit in the shed/garage over winter, the remaining fuel in the engine will decompose. This causes difficulty when you start up the mower in the spring. By adding a stabilizer to the fuel in the winter, this wont happen. If no stabilizer is used, empty the tank completely.
- Don’t prune trees or shrubs until late-winter
Thank you to Kiplinger for the original information.
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