Winter is Coming

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Few seasons will put as much stress on your home as winter. Yes, spring and autumn both have drastically changing temperatures, which can warp wood and generally do a fair amount of damage, not to mention plenty of rain – and we all know how much damage rain can do! Summer also has its share of dangers, with the potential for incredible heat and humidity every day. Yet few things are as inhospitable to human civilization as the bitter cold and harsh weather of winter, which is why it is important to take such care with preparing your home for the coldest season and continue to perform winter maintenance once winter is in full swing.1 (1)

Stay Toasty 

The first thing you want to make certain of is that you are going to be warm and comfortable throughout the bitter cold of winter, so you will want to ensure that your heating system is in working order. Many choose to call in a technician to inspect their furnace or heat pump. By ensuring that their system is clean and in good condition, you can be sure that you’re getting the most heat for your dollar, which means you’ll be saving money this winter, too. Additionally, this inspection will measure carbon-monoxide leakage, preventing a potential tragedy in the process.

Speaking of heat, you’ll also want to reverse your ceiling fans (if you have them). It may seem strange to do so, but this is a matter of physics; heat naturally rises, but you probably don’t spend a lot of time on your ceiling. To keep the heat near the floor, where you are, you want your fan spinning in such a way that it will produce an updraft, thereby pushing the heated air down into the room. This will keep your home warmer than it otherwise would be.

Water, Water Everywhere 

While rain often hits the ground as snow and can stay in that form for quite some time, you can’t forget that ultimately all that ice and snow is just water waiting to revert to its liquid form. To that end, it is important to take steps to prevent water damage – some of which is unique to winter. For example, ice dams can form where icicles and other large amounts of ice deposit themselves on your roof, gutters, and other parts of your home. These large amounts of ice can in turn stop water – often, melting ice and snow – from running off your home naturally, building up and eventually doing damage to your home.

Thus, it is important to make certain that your home is weatherized appropriately. Have any air leaks fixed, and ensure that your attic is insulated. Loose or missing shingles may also open your home up to a leak, as can breaks in the seals around vent stacks and chimneys. Having all of these elements of your home fixed and ready to go is a great idea.

Plenty of Chores, But One Silver Bullet 

Winterize Your Home

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There are many other things you can do to prepare for winter, including testing your sump pump, calling in a chimney sweep, turning off your outside faucets, adding extensions to downspouts to divert water, and draining your lawn irrigation system. What it comes down to is that the cold – indeed, freezing – weather that you can expect for the winter will change the way you need to think about water, your lawn, and the seals and insulation that traditionally keep your home protected against the outside elements. It is all too easy to grow complacent in spring, summer, and fall, only to have winter change how you think about your home’s structural integrity.A great way to head all of this off, of course, is to invest in a high quality home that has many of the winter-fighting amenities discussed here: thorough insulation, gutters that divert water, soundly sealed vents, chimneys, windows, and doors. Ultimately, as much as you can prepare your home for the harshness of winter, nothing can substitute for a well-built house. That’s why it’s so important to make certain that the home you are buying is well made and will stand the test of time. After all, you hope to sell your home some day – or at least retire there. Either way, winter is coming. Are you prepared?

 

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