Winter Proofing Your Home

Posted by Mistic E Cigs on Nov 8, 2013 9:53:00 AM

Winter Proofing Your Home

It seems like a chore, but taking a few simple steps to winterize your home can save you loads of time, money, and discomfort in the long run.

Follow the tips below to save money on heating, avoid costly burst pipes, and even prevent injuries. When you’re done reading, just grab your Mistic e-cig and start winter proofing your home and yard!

Winterizing Outdoors

Clean Out Your Gutters

The most obvious winterizing task is also one of the most important. Blocked gutters can cause water to seep into the walls, foundation, and even attic of your home as winter rains hit and ice and snow melt. Install gutter guards to protect against the buildup of leaves and debris, and don’t forget to check for moss and even algae.

Protect Outdoor Furniture

A winter outdoors can easily ruin a nice set of patio furniture. Don’t let it happen to you! Thoroughly wash and dry all removable cushions before storing them inside. You’ll also want to store furniture made from plastic, wicker, soft woods like pine and cedar, and even metal if it is made from hollow tubes that can fill with water and freeze. Cover anything that’s remaining outside.

Empty Outdoor Pipes

If your outdoor water lines are separate from your indoor ones, shut them off, and then turn on outdoor faucets to empty the pipes of any remaining water. Empty hoses and store them inside. If you have a lawn irrigation system, hire a professional to empty the water lines with an air compressor; it won’t cost much, but it could save you a lot in repairs. Wrap exposed outdoor pipes in heating tape to prevent freezing, and have cracked and leaky pipes serviced immediately – they waste money and can cause further damage.

Remove Risky Tree Branches

Winter snows may cause branches to fall, so it’s wise to preemptively trim dead branches and any that may break under weight. Especially focus on trees with limbs over your house, fences, sidewalks, and where you keep your car.

Check Steps and Handrails

Steps and railings can become hazardous in the winter, so check that everything is secure and consider adding non-slip tape to the edges of steps. This is also a good time to stock up on anti-icing agent.

Seal Cracks and Holes

Heat loss is a huge factor in most people’s winter electrical bills. Use caulking or weather stripping to fill holes in the external walls and foundation and gaps around windows, doors, skylights, and more. In many cases, you may also need to prevent water from seeping in.

Maintain Your Chimney

If you have a chimney, be sure you seal it every 5 years to prevent costly leaks and cracks. You can hire a professional for under $100, or do it yourself by applying a clear acrylic sealant to all outside surfaces. You also need to have it checked annually for blockages, and swept when necessary (for most people, this isn’t every year.

Winterizing Indoors

Keep the House Warm

Keeping the house warm is important in climates that spend most of the season below freezing. Because the temperature in your home is much higher than the temperature inside your walls, pipes may freeze if you leave the heat down or off while you’re at work or traveling. By programming your thermostat, you can stay comfortable and save money - it’s cheaper to maintain a temperature than to keep turning it up and down, and it’s certainly cheaper than replacing burst pipes.

Protect Your Plumbing

Especially in northern climates, you may want to install an emergency pressure release valve on your plumbing system, to prevent them from bursting under the increased pressure from freezing water. Know how to shut off your water and where your pipes are located.

Follow the Winter Checklist

To save money and prevent damage, run down this list of things to check in your home each year:

  • Insulate any exposed pipes and your water heater. Use an approved insulation blanket for the water heater - they cost about $20, and you can save about $100 on your winter energy bill
  • Make sure that there’s plenty of insulation in any areas where it is exposed
  • Have your heating system serviced and ducts checked. A home with central heating can lose as much as 60% of heated air to leaky and un-insulated ducts
  • Make sure all smoke detectors and fire alarms are functional, because residential fires increase in winter
  • Replace air filters to improve flow and save on heating costs
  • Block unused fireplaces to prevent heat loss
  • Reverse the ceiling fan to push warm air downward and pull cold air up, circulating air and keeping it warmer

We at Mistic hope you find these tips helpful, and that they save you lots of time and money this winter!

What are your tips for winterizing your home? Let us know in the comments!

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