The 2016-2017 Farmers’ Almanac has predicted that this winter will not be nearly as mild as it was last year, even stating that “winter is back!” The Farmers’ Almanac became available on August 15th 2016, with its warning “that exceptionally cold, if not downright frigid weather will predominate over parts of the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley, the Middle Atlantic, Northeast, and New England this winter.” What does this mean as a homeowner in the Midwest? It means that winterizing your home this year should be a top priority before the cold really hits us hard.
Winterizing your home is important to maintain the integrity of your plumbing, heating or electrical systems and other potential threats that come with a deep freeze. If you’re a snowbird that travels south for the winter, taking proper measures before you leave may also help protect you from theft. You could even consider a short term renter to help with maintenance while you’re away (BN Realty at Keller Williams would be happy to help you locate a good tenant!)
To help make things easy for even the most inexperienced homeowner, we’ve compiled a list of 13 important things to do to prepare your home for this winter and even save you some money on your heating bill. We hope that these tips help protect your home from the dangerous cold that we are expecting this winter!
1. Caulk around your windows. Cold air can enter your house if the area around your windows has cracks in it, even if they are small. Caulking should to be replaced periodically, and you should check every fall for signs of wear and tear.
2. Replace weather stripping around doors. If you can see light around the edges of your doors then you need new weather stripping (which can be found at your local hardware store).
3. Close your fireplace. Make sure your flue closes all the way, and check whether you can feel air coming in when it’s closed.
4. Put up storm windows and doors.
5. Change your furnace filters. If the filters are dirty, your furnace has to work harder.
6. Lower your water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends 120 degrees.
7. Replacing less efficient windows and doors with double- or triple-pane windows, insulated doors and insulated garage doors greatly improves the efficiency of your home.
8. Lower the thermostat! Wearing a sweater is a very easy way to save money.
9. Reverse your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. This will push warm air down recirculate it throughout the room.
10. Check your insulation. You should have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic.
11. Clean your gutters so that water can drain freely. This will help prevent water freezing and backing up, which could cause water damage.
12. Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and turn off the water.
13. Trim branches that hang over your home. Branches that become frozen and heavy could potentially fall and damage your roof.
Don’t be caught off guard this winter and regret not following these winterizing tips from BN Realty at Keller Williams!