Before cold weather hits, it’s a good idea to perform some simple exterior maintenance steps in order to improve energy efficiency and protect your family. If you haven’t already addressed costly drafts coming into doors or windows, cleaned gutters and had your HVAC and fireplaces checked, now is the time to do so.

What to Address Before Winter Hits


 

Eliminate Drafts & Inspect the Fireplace

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts in your home can waste up to 35% of energy. Drafts typically occur underneath doors and around windows. Easy fixes include simply rolling up a bath towel and placing it in front of leaky doors. Applying weather-resistant caulk around windows can remedy drafty windows. Installing storm doors and windows is another fix for reducing airflow.

If you haven’t already had your fireplace inspected, now is the time to do so. A professional can clean and remove creosote build-up, ash and other debris and ensure it draws fire and smoke up properly. A professional should also inspect the surrounding brick for open mortar joints, which can spread fire into the stud wall behind masonry firebrick.

Clean Gutters & Check the Roof

In winter, clogged gutters around your home can lead to the formation of damaging ice dams on the roof. If ice continues to build, snow and rain can pool and begin to leak into your home. Cleaning out dead leaves and grime from gutters and downspouts ensures water continues to drain away from your home, preventing water damage. Bring in a professional to check your home’s roof for damaged or missing shingles, as well as flashing around chimneys and other roof projections—areas where leaks are most common.

Tune-Up the Heating System

Keeping a home furnace clean, lubricated and properly tuned can save up to 5% in heating costs and help protect your family from the silent threat of carbon monoxide. An HVAC professional should check all electrical connections, lubricate moving parts, clean the motor and fan, inspect the condensate drain and trap and check gas connections and pressure, burner combustion and the heat exchanger of a gas furnace.

Do also take time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them to ensure each one is fully functioning.

Check & Restock Your Family Emergency Kit

Having a 72-hour emergency kit ready to go for each member of your family is smart planning. Weather events or local emergencies can happen at any time. Pre-made kits can be purchased online or at most camping and outdoor stores. You can make your own to reduce costs, but be sure to include all the recommended necessities.

 

Preparing your home for winter can save you in the long run, increasing energy efficiency and preventing costly water damage, fire, or worse.

Does your home insurance policy sufficiently protect your home? Contact Cole Harrison today to ensure you are getting the protection you need.

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