Now that fall is officially here, it's time to prepare your home for cold weather. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.
1. Clean Out Birds Nests
Now that bird nest season is over and before winter sets in clean out bird nests from your bathroom, dryer vents and place bird guards over them to stop them nesting next year. This will help improve your ventilation and drying time for your clothes.
2. Tune up your Heating System
It's a good practice to check your furnace filter monthly and change it when it's dirty. Doing this will help you save on your utility bills and extend the life of your furnace as well.
It's also a good idea to get a technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.
If you act soon, you'll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year.
3. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan's blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).
This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings -- and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.
4. Prevent Ice Dams
If your home had lots of icicles last winter -- or worse, ice dams, which can cause meltwater to back up and flow into your house -- take steps to prevent potential damage this year.
An energy auditor can identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your home's attic that can lead to ice dams.
5. Check Your Roof
Scan your roof closely with binoculars to look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow. Also, check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys.
If your roof is flat and surfaced with asphalt and pebbles, as many are in the Southwest, rake or blow off fall leaves and pine needles, which hold moisture.
6. Caulk Around Windows and Doors
If you spot gaps between siding and window or door frames and they are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Also, check the joints in window and door frames. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.
It's a good idea to check window-glazing putty while you're checking the house. Add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
7. Clean out your Gutters
If your gutters are full of detritus, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim -- plus cause leaks and ice dams. You can do this yourself or get in a handyman such as Tara Construction to do it for you.
8. Divert Water
Look at your downspouts and make sure they're not draining onto your sidewalk which will start to freeze and turn to ice during winter and this will not only cause a hazard for you but it will also start causing the concrete to crack. See about adding extensions to your downspouts to ensure that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation.
Your Calgary Handyman
If you do find issues with your home and can't fix it yourself give Tara Construction we offer handyman services and general contracting for all your construction needs. We're a reliable company that will be happy to help you with your issue for an affordable rate and we're happy to give you advice on anything else you can do to ensure your home lasts. Call us today for a free quote at (403) 991-2813