Nov 03, 2015
How to Prepare Your Home for Winter
This week marks the beginning of the winter weather season in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia area, which means homeowners are busy preparing their homes for the cold. Checking the home heating system, however, is only one step homeowners need to take to ensure their houses are ready for winter. That’s why we’ve created a checklist of winter home maintenance tips for homeowners.
Here’s what our 5-star technicians advise you do to prepare your home for winter:
1. Seal off small openings
A warm, toasty house is the ideal refuge for critters seeking to escape the cold outdoors. Keep unwanted guests like mice, racoons, and squirrels out of your home this winter by sealing small openings where pests can easily enter, including around cable lines, dryer vents, and faucets.
Other common ways pests get in your home are through broken screens, open gable vents, and cracks in your home’s foundation. In order to prevent pests from building their home in your walls, have a pest control specialist inspect your house to identify and close off access points.
If you notice signs of rodent activity in your home, such as mice droppings or scratching sounds coming from inside the walls or ceiling, call CroppMetcalfe’s 5-star pest control team to eliminate your rodent problem before it becomes an infestation.
2. Replace old attic insulation
A well-insulated attic is the key to keeping your home warm this winter. Proper attic insulation prevents heated air from escaping your home through any gaps in your roof. Insulation not only provides homeowners with increased comfort, but helps reduce energy costs as well. Plus, attic insulation prevents moisture and pests from getting into the attic, both of which can create a variety of issues for homeowners.
Signs that you may need to replace your attic insulation include:
Mold or mildew smell
High utility bills
3. Inspect weather stripping
Poor attic insulation isn’t the only reason for increased utility bills. If you’re experiencing chilly drafts or inexplicably expensive heating bills, your doors and windows may be to blame.
Old door and window frames can warp over time, which creates gaps that allow heated air from inside your home to escape and cold air from the outdoors to enter. You can easily determine whether or not your windows and doors are causing a chill in the air by placing your hand near the seams where the window meets the frame, or near the door threshold. If you feel a breeze, you need to inspect and possibly replace your weather stripping.
Weather stripping helps close those gaps between the window or door and the frame, which helps keep your home warm and your utility bills low.
4. Replace furnace filters
Aside from having an HVAC professional conduct an annual heating system inspection
at the start of each heating season, another way to prepare your home for winter includes replacing your furnace filters. Clogged filters can prevent heated air from flowing through your vents efficiently, which means some rooms in your home might be chillier than others.
Replacing furnace filters is also very important for allergy-sufferers. Pet dander, dust, mold, and other allergens build up on your filters, contaminating the air as it circulates throughout your home.
Consider replacing your furnace filters every two months or so, even more frequently if you or a family member suffers from severe allergies.
5. Prevent pipes from freezing
Frozen pipes are one of the most common issues homeowners contact us about during the winter. While a frozen pipe isn’t necessarily a threat, it can become a very serious issue if the pipe bursts and causes water damage. Water damage can weaken the structural integrity of your home and lead to mold growth.
Here’s what you can do to prevent frozen pipes during the cold, winter months:
Set your thermostat no lower than 60 degrees when you leave the house.
Remove your garden hose and cover outdoor spigots with an insulating dome.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Make sure you remove any household chemicals and store them out of reach of children and pets!
Allow water to drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes on particularly chilly nights.
Get Your Home Winter-Weather Ready
When it comes to preparing your home for winter, many homeowners don't know where to start. Follow our winter home maintenance tips to stay warm and safe over the next few months.
Have questions about how to get your home winter-weather ready? Call CroppMetcalfe at 703-698-8855 to speak to one of our 5-Star technicians or contact us online
to schedule a service appointment.