There is no better way to prepare for the coming cold season other than winterizing your house. It will keep you from high heating expenses, equipment repair, and, of course, chilly nights and days. Begin by preparing your home during the fall, just before the temperature hits below the freezing point. Here are several things you should do when winterizing your house. You can manage some of the tasks all on your own, although in some cases you need to have professional assistance.
1. Fireplace - Your fireplace is one part of the house that can help you get through all winter, so get it ready very early on. Start with the chimney. You can have a certified chimney sweep to do an inspection and remove anything that might have been trapped in the chimney, usually balls, birds, and the likes. To prevent any foreign object getting into the chimney, you can protect it with a cap or screen. The wood stove should also be thoroughly cleaned of creosote and, as advised by experts, have glass doors that must be kept closed when the stove is not in use. Inspect the fireplace damper as well and, like the wood stove, it should be closed when not in use. Then, start collecting firewood and store them in a secure, dry place. Having the fireplace ready can be a life saver during a winter storm if the electric goes out and your main heat source is cut off.
2. Furnace - Inspection and cleaning of furnace requires professional assistance, which will cost approximately $100. Replace furnace filters monthly or at least as often as possible. An old and dirty filter obstructs airflow, inevitably affecting its performance. Although it is rare, it can also cause fire. Also, consider the possibility of buying a new furnace if it is quite old and in need of constant repair. Remember, an inefficient and malfunctioning furnace pumps up the heating costs. Make sure that the furnace is the right size for the square footage of your home in order for it to be efficient and cost effective.
3. Doors - You don't want cold air to come gushing from your door, so winterize your door by sealing any cracks and installing weatherstripping on the sides and top of the door. Install a door sweep on its bottom for more protection from the cold.
4. Roof - Inspect the roof for missing tiles, shingles, or nails. Check the flashings and metal plates for damage or the need for caulking; or is generally in bad shape. If it is, you need to have someone fix the roof and replace any worn-out parts. If there is one thing that will protect the whole house from winter, it is your roof, so make sure it can stand the whole season.
5. Gutters - Your first concern is to check if the gutters are securely and firmly fastened to the roof. If they are not, immediately call for a roofing professional to fix the problem. Then, clean the gutters and remove leaves and other debris that have fallen into the gutters. Hose them down if necessary. Check if the gutters have leaks and if the downspouts are efficiently driving water away.
These are only five parts of the house, but there are other parts that you should look into when winterizing your house. Remember, the house should be prepared inside and out, so check every nook and cranny.