Harsh winter weather can be hard on your home, and the cost of keeping a house warm during the winter months can be just as hard on your wallet. There are ways to reduce the cost of winter heating and avoid expensive repair bills caused by winter weather, however. Many of these problems can be avoided with a few simple fall maintenance jobs. Stay warm and keep your expenses low this winter with these simple fall home maintenance tips.
Check All Windows and Doors
Windows and doors that aren't properly sealed can lead to a significant amount of heat loss during the winter, driving up your heating costs and creating uncomfortable drafts in your home. Check to make sure that all of the locks and latches on your doors and windows function properly, and repair or replace them when necessary. You should also make sure that there are no gaps around your windows or in your door frame where heat might escape, and seal them if necessary. If you aren't going to be opening your windows during the winter, covering them with plastic sheeting that is secured to the window frame can provide an extra layer of protection against heat loss.
Look for Water Leaks
Take the time to search for leaks that could create dangerous ice, damage your house or lead to frozen pipes once the winter arrives. Look for wet spots as well as stains or distortions that may indicate previous leaks and reinforce these areas. Take the time to carefully inspect your foundation, faucets or spigots, major home appliances with a water connection, and along the ceiling to check for leaks in your roof.
Have Your Home Heating System Inspected
Before the cold of winter arrives, have your home heating system professionally inspected. This will not only ensure that you will be able to turn the heat on when you need it, but it will also help you to avoid common problems once it is under the strain of constant use. The heating professionals can also flush the system with air to remove any built-up dust or small debris. This reduces the amount of airborne irritants and eliminates the unpleasant burning smell when you first turn on your heater.
Inspect the Chimney
If you have a chimney, you should get it professionally cleaned and inspected before using your fireplace or furnace. It's important to remove built up soot, nests, and other materials that could present a fire hazard when you use your fireplace. The inspection will also identify any cracks or other structural problems that may have developed in your chimney over the previous year. Repairing your chimney can prevent heat loss and keep your furnace or fireplace working as efficiently as possible.
Check All Caulking and Seals
Caulking in your bathroom, on windows, and in other locations throughout your home is designed to prevent leaks and help secure your fixtures and windows. When holes start to develop in your caulking, it can result in leaks heat loss. You should take the time to inspect all of your caulking as well as other sealant materials in your home to ensure that they're still intact.
If you do find holes in your caulking or other sealant materials, they're generally easy to repair. In most cases, you will simply need to apply small amounts of the same caulk or sealant to repair the gaps and reestablish the integrity of the seal.
Make Time for Any Minor Repairs you've been putting off
Look over the to-do list that you've created over the summer and see what's remaining. You might have been planning to reattach a loose section of gutter, drain the pool and prepare it for the fall and winter, or reseal the driveway to take care of a few cracks that have developed. This is the perfect time to get all of those projects finished so that everything is safe and secure before the cold of winter sets in.
Think about the minor repairs or preventative maintenance that needs to be done around your home and set aside a few weekends to cross them off your list. This will ensure that small problems don't escalate into major, expensive issues when the temperature plummets.
As the cost of energy increases, winter can become an increasingly expensive season. But if you take a few simple preventative steps, you can save a significant amount of money and hassle. By checking your windows, doors and seals, looking for water leaks, having your heater and chimney inspected and taking care of minor maintenance issues, you can stay warm and avoid costly repairs.
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