As the leaves change color and the crisp autumn air replaces summer’s warmth, many start thinking about pumpkin spice lattes and cozy sweaters. But it’s also the perfect time to consider how prepared our houses are for winter.
Do you know what the average family spends on heating in winter? According to US Energy Information Administration reports, the average American household spends over $1,300 on heating during winter. Too much, right? To ensure you’re not squandering money when the temperature drops, it’s essential to focus on timely home improvements that keep the cold out and warmth in.
Below, we’ll explore various upgrades you should consider before winter sets in, ensuring you remain comfortable without breaking the bank.
Roof Inspection and Repair
Your roof serves as the first line of defense against the elements, and neglecting its upkeep can have serious consequences. According to the US Department of Energy, every degree added to the thermostat costs you 3% more on energy bills. In cities like Atlanta, where the temperatures are dropping into the 30s, many are tempted to crank the thermostat. The city of Altana experiences a standard of 1-3 inches of snow per year, which may seem like a lot and can cause significant damage to unprepared roofs.
Start by inspecting for missing, curled, or damaged shingles and replace them as necessary. These compromised areas can become entry points for water, leading to costly interior damage. Since you can’t carry out these tasks yourself, consider hiring one of the top roofing companies in Atlanta to do the inspection and repairs.
During the winter, clogged gutters can cause water to pool and freeze, creating what is known as an “ice dam.” Ice dams not only damage your gutters but can also lead to water seeping under your roof, damaging your attic, and even causing ceiling leaks
Insulate for Warmth
Insulating your home is crucial for maintaining a warm and energy-efficient environment during winter. Start by weatherstripping doors and windows. Add strips of material around frames to seal gaps, preventing cold drafts and heat loss.
Another key area is attic insulation. Warm air rises, and you could lose a significant amount of heat without adequate attic insulation. Opt for materials like fiberglass, cellulose, or foam boards, all of which provide efficient thermal resistance.
Don’t overlook pipe insulation. Exposed pipes, especially those in unheated spaces like garages and basements, are prone to freezing and bursting when temperatures drop. Insulating these pipes with foam sleeves or insulating tape can save you from costly repairs.
Check Your Heating System
A well-functioning heating system is a must for a comfortable winter. Schedule a professional furnace inspection to identify potential issues that could result in inefficiency or failure. It’s wise to do this well before winter, as service providers often get booked as the cold sets in.
Regularly replace air filters; a clogged filter can slow airflow, forcing the system to work harder.
Lastly, installing a programmable thermostat can optimize heating schedules, automatically reducing temperatures when you’re away and raising them before you return, saving energy and money.
A crackling fire not only provides warmth but also brings a sense of coziness during cold winter nights. However, the beauty and warmth of a fireplace come with responsibilities. Over time, chimneys accumulate creosote—a flammable byproduct of burning wood.
This buildup poses a fire risk if not regularly cleaned. Annual chimney sweep services can efficiently remove this residue, ensuring your fireplace burns cleanly and safely. The damper, a pivoting door inside the chimney, acts as a seal when the fireplace isn’t in use. Ensuring the damper operates correctly prevents cold drafts from entering the house and keeps warm air from escaping.
Winters can sometimes amplify safety concerns around the house. The increased use of heaters, stoves, and fireplaces means a heightened risk of fire and carbon monoxide incidents. Smoke detectors alert occupants to fires in their early stages, potentially saving lives and property.
Carbon monoxide, often called the ‘silent killer’ because it’s colorless and odorless, can emanate from faulty heating equipment. Carbon monoxide detectors are essential in alerting residents to its presence, thus preventing possible poisonings.
Homeowners should prepare their outdoor spaces for the chilly weather. Trees, especially those near structures or power lines, should be regularly inspected for weak or dead limbs. These limbs can easily snap under the weight of snow or during winter storms, causing property damage or power outages.
Gardens, a source of summer joy, require winter care to thrive the next season. Mulching protects plants by providing an insulating layer against frost. For particularly sensitive plants, frost cloths can make the difference between surviving and succumbing to a cold snap.
Water hoses, if left connected and filled with water, can freeze, leading to internal damage. It’s a best practice to disconnect, drain, and store them indoors during winter to ensure longevity.
Carpeting and Rugs
Carpeting and rugs can serve as a practical and aesthetic upgrade for winter. But they also provide an additional layer of insulation to the floors, ensuring warmth. By getting carpets or rugs, you can trap the warmth inside your house and reduce heating bills.
Carpets are also beneficial for our well-being since they can trap allergens like dust mites, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, pesticides, lead, mold spores, etc. They act as a repository for indoor air pollution. So, buy a carpet or two as per your house’s style aesthetics and make your winters allergy-free.
Home improvements are a must when the winter season starts approaching. Inspect every room in your house to ensure it’s well-prepared for the chilly season. Also, check your roof’s condition. If it seems outdated or in shabby condition, call roof experts immediately. Other tasks to prepare for the winter season include insulating and checking the heating system of your house. Fireplaces and outdoors also deserve your undue attention alongside safety measures. Depending on where you live and your property’s structure, examine and determine which upgrades are crucial so you may be fully prepared for the harshness of winter.