Fall has just begun but there is plenty of time to get ready for the coldest season of the year. Depending on where you live, it means really cold, to a point that you really need to get prepared.
There are a lot of good things that come along with winter, but there’s also a lot of hassle that may prevent you from enjoying this charming season.
Make a Checklist
It’s time for checklists! Getting your home prepared for winter means doing some planning, so here are a few things you should take the time to check on:
- Check your bedding - make sure you have enough blankets and comforters for all of the beds in your home. Also spot-check them for any holes, rips, or tears.
- Check your curtains and carpets - make sure your carpets and curtains are clean and free of holes and tears. Carpets and curtains can help keep your home a little more insulated during the cold months.
- Check your roof - before the cold weather hits, you should get your roof inspected or have a professional perform some roofing maintenance to keep your roof safe during the winter.
- Check your chimney - if you plan on using your chimney this winter, be sure to have a professional look it over before you use it.
Check Your Windows and Doors
However, nothing is as important on this “home winter checklist” as checking if windows and doors are well sealed. You certainly don’t want to have drafts freezing your rooms. Cracked, peeled and torn joints are gateways for the cold winter air that will certainly inflate your heating bill. Since it’s not so cold yet in most parts of the country, there’s still time for redoing the caulking on your windows and doors. Choose a dry day when it’s as warm as possible (ideally above 40 degrees F).
As much as you can, try to look into all the doors and windows, and mark those that are in poor condition. Unless they have been installed by caulking specialists, silicone and thermoplastic sealants hardly ever last for long. When exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun and to extreme shifts in the temperature, these sealants tend to dry out, crack and shrink. You may even not notice the cool air coming in, but you’d certainly notice the raise in your bill. Also, water can infiltrate in drops for years, without the damage becoming visible.
On exterior masonry walls, the problem can be even more serious. Tearing cracks around windows can be a sign of a very disturbing problem: The facade is forcing its way to detach itself from the building! Too often too little sealant is applied, so it doesn’t overlap enough on both surfaces (the siding and the door or window frames). Due to that, caulking may need to be redone at every five years or even less. It is a common mistake that owners want thin joints due to aesthetic concerns. Joints should be sealed with a layer at least 0.8 inches wide.
Professionals preen the joints with a wooden stick dipped in a substance that prevents sticking. This allows to seal at 45 degrees with an ideal thickness to prevent accumulating dirt and dust. It’s easy to tell that this isn’t a simple job but one that requires expertise. So repeat the entire caulking of all doors and windows by a specialized, professional company for a satisfactory result. The whole process shouldn’t cost you too much, so it’s very much worth it hiring knowledgeable professionals.
Caulking is perhaps the most efficient and simple way to avoid energy waste in the winter. Poorly sealed homes can increase the waste in as much as 15%. If your windows are visibly leaking, you should consider new windows, because it often means that the damage is too big to be fixed. Keep in mind that, even if replacing windows will pay off just after some time, it also has other benefits, such as appearance and comfort.
Sealing vents, ducts, and pipes is also beneficial, since they are potentially a cause for energy waste. If you’re not using your fireplace, close the damper! Don’t forget to insulate your attic. It can be the best way to save on energy in older buildings. Electric outlets are surprisingly a way for drafts to get into your house, so make sure you take care of it, too.
Winter can be fun and pleasant, but it can also be harsh on your health and pockets. So make sure you brace yourself and your home in order to keep drafts at bay so that you can enjoy the season at home comfortably.
Here below is an infographic that shows how important it is to get your house ready for winter.