October 14th, 2014
As summer fades out and the first hints of fall arrive, thoughts start to turn to boots and sweaters and parkas and snowball fights. But before we start changing out our wardrobe and preparing for snowfall, there are a few things we should do to our home.
Air leaks throughout house
Air leaks are one of the primary sources for energy loss in a home, and energy loss means money loss. There are steps you can take to check for and eliminate them. “When checking your home windows and doors for air leaks, start with a detailed visual inspection from both the interior and exterior of your home,” said Lifehacker. “On the outside you should look for areas where the old caulking has failed, revealing the gap between the window or door frame and your home’s siding.”
They also recommend “inspecting the threshold under each door, looking for daylight or other obvious signs of an opening that is too big and needs to be sealed shut, making sure that the weather stripping around the windows and doors is in good condition, and checking old single-paned windows for damaged glazing, which can make the home “vulnerable to expensive heat loss.”
Once you’ve discovered the air leaks in your home, you can set about sealing them up. “More often than not, a fresh layer of exterior-grade caulking will adequately seal shut any gap or crack that is causing you problems. New weatherstripping or an adjustable threshold can help to seal shut the gaps around your home’s doors.”
Summer storms caused problems in areas throughout the country, and in many cities, no roof was spared. If you have yet to have yours checked out, you may want to do so before winter comes and brings snow with it. A call to your insurance company should produce a free visit to come check its condition.
If it’s been awhile, you’ll want to do a check of your filters throughout the house to make sure they are clean so air can flow through them smoothly. “According to Energystar.gov, the filters on your home system likely need to be changed either once a month or once every three months, depending on the type you’re using,” said Allstate. “You should check the product information on the filters for the manufacturer’s suggested frequency of change. Depending on where you live, the time of year, and how much you’re using your AC or furnace, you may end up having to change your air filter more frequently. For instance, during a steamy summer when you’re running your system constantly, you may end up having to change the filter more often than if the weather is nice and you’re relying on open windows.”
It’s also time to change out the batteries in your smoke detectors. While you’re at it, check and clean out your dryer vent at the same time, clearing any buildup of lint since this can cause a fire.
Now to the place where you actually want a fire in the winter. To keep it safe, you’ll want to inspect this area as well. Woodburning fireplaces need to be cleaned because of the potential for buildup of soot and creosote. Gas fireplaces should also be checked for debris and to make sure the chimney structure is secure with no cracks or crumbling mortar joints.
Once you’ve checked off this list, your home should be in good shape to get you through another fall and winter.