Take advantage of a nice fall day to think about how to winterize your home. Now is the time to spot problems, before the first storm comes in. Roof repair specialists say the first winter storms bring a deluge of calls, and in most cases the homeowner knew there was a problem and was putting off repairs.
A good start is to walk around the outside of your house. Take a look at your gutters – clean them out now, and check for sturdiness. If you’re up to it, you can climb on the roof and check if any shingles are torn away. If you see moss growing on the roof, spray wash it with a 50% mixture of water and bleach.
Examine the condition of your door and window seals. Look for cracks around any areas where two different materials meet. Many of these can be plugged with caulking. Don’t forget to take a look in the attic, either by crawling around or at least standing on a ladder and using a flashlight.
Clean out your foundation vent covers (if you have a crawl space). You can keep your floors warmer and the pipes from freezing if you cover the vents for the winter. You can buy the $1 Styrofoam kind at hardware stores, and cut them to make a solid fit.
While you’re outside, disconnect all hoses from the faucets. Drain the hoses and store them away from the elements. Open the faucets to let them drain – and some suggest leaving the faucets open to ease pressure in freezing temperatures.
When you’re back inside the house, check for any openings where the weatherstripping may have worn. Sealing gaps around windows and doors can save 10-15% on your heating bills. Some drafty areas you can feel with your hand. Another way to detect drafts is to use the smoke from an incense stick or a blown out candle. Hold the smoking stick or candle a few inches from windows and doors and slowly move them around the perimeter. Any areas that move the smoke are a potential concern. Hardware stores sell a variety of inexpensive weatherstripping devices you can customize to fit your window and door frames.
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