With fall upon us, homeowners are busy preparing their homes for the months ahead. Considering these tips will not only save you money in the short term, but cut down on repair costs come spring!
- Ensure the foundation is sealed
Take a walk around your home and check your foundation for cracks or other openings that could lead to heat escape. Specifically, check where any masonry meets the siding, pipes or wires enter the structure, and around windows and doors.
- Inspect your windows
Windows are a big source of heat loss in the colder months. Fix any broken windows, and ensure that they lock tightly. Consider installing storm windows to add an extra air cushion to further insulate your windows from heat loss.
- Make sure your roof is in good shape
A lot of heat loss can occur through the roof of your home as well. Look for missing and loose shingles, and have it repaired as necessary. With the frequent temperature shifts in Upstate New York, further damage can occur as the melting snow and ice re-freezes as it works its way under the edges of the shingles.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts
Avoid the ice buildup in your gutters this winter by removing any debris, flushing them with water, inspecting the joints for a tight seal, and tighten any brackets that are loose. A gutter system that is off pitch due to a loose bracket can cause pooling, and eventually an ice buildup.
- Weather strip your garage door
Keep out the driving snow and rain, characteristic of an Upstate New York winter with weatherstripping. Not only will it keep your garage at a more bearable temperature, but it will help keep out some of those smaller animals, too.
- Inspect your driveway and sidewalk for cracks
When snow thaws and re-freezes in the cracks of your driveway or sidewalk, it further damages the pavement, eventually creating what we commonly know as “pot-holes.” Sealing the cracks with a commercial sealer helps prolong the life of your pavement, and makes it easier for snow removal.
- Inspect your doors and windows for leaks
Prevent unnecessary heat loss and expensive heating costs this winter by inspecting your doors and windows for leaks. Check with your hand for air movement around the edges of the doors and windows. Caulk or install weatherstripping where appropriate, and don’t forget to check the door to the basement.
- Have your heating system checked
Set up an inspection of your heating system by a licensed heating contractor. When properly serviced, heating systems are more efficient, last longer, and experience fewer problems.
- Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order
Examine your wood stove or fireplace inserts door gasket for a tight seal, and ensure there are no cracks in the door. Additionally, have your chimney cleaned by a licensed chimney sweep. Blockages in the chimney put you at a significant risk for a chimney fire.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans
By reversing your fans, you create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
By addressing these easy tips, you set yourself up for long-term savings in both emergency maintenance, and in utilities!