Is your home ready for winter this year? If you've noticed your home struggling to keep itself warm during the past year, it may be time to make some changes. Over time, insulation degrades and heating systems age. Apart from routine maintenance, you may want to consider some strategic upgrades.
Here are some important winter home tips.
Check your heating systems
Your heating system has to be maintained. Ducts need to be cleaned, filters need to be replaced, and an annual inspection isn't a bad idea. If your furnace is on the older side, it may be time to consider replacing it. Usually a furnace lasts anywhere from 20 to 30 years, and performance can drop off considerably when it's older. New, energy efficient units can save you a lot of money.
You may want to test out your heating systems before it gets truly cold; you don't want to have to invest in an expensive emergency repair. It's usually better to replace your air conditioner and your furnace at the same time, so if your air conditioner has started malfunctioning, it may be time for the furnace to go too.
Seal exterior wood and siding
Over time, exterior siding can begin to get damaged and cracked, and will no longer form a good seal against the elements. Inspect your siding and seal it properly so that the interior of your home remains protected.
You can use this time to clean up your siding and or even repaint it. Periodically refreshing your siding and paint will keep your home looking like new, improving your property values.
Clean gutters and drainage systems
Before the snow begins to fall, clean out your gutters and drainage systems. As snow melts, it needs to find a place to go. If your gutters are blocked, then the water will sit on your roof. Eventually, that could cause expensive and damaging leaks (or the water could freeze again, causing damage to your shingles).
Are your gutters damaged? Consider getting them replaced. When gutters are bent and dinged, they aren't as effective, and they get blocked far more easily. There are many unique gutter options (such as copper gutters) that can enhance the appearance of your home.
Gutters and drainage systems have to be cleaned regularly. Make sure that the drainage systems are directing water away from your home, if you want to avoid water damage and foundation issues. While you're up there, you may also want to test your gutters for leaks.
Clean your chimney
Cleaning your chimney is one of the most important tasks you can do before the winter. A blocked chimney is a health hazard. If dust and debris have accumulated in your chimney, your chimney could start venting smoke and gas back into your home.
Whether you clean your chimney yourself or you have someone else do it for you, it's a task that should be done every year before winter hits, and before the chimney is used again. You may also want to check for nesting animals, such as birds and squirrels, first, as they commonly find chimneys very attractive.
If you're not sure whether your home is winter ready, it's time to contact the professionals. Exterior Medics can help with these winter home tips or any other renovation your house needs, all year long.