The time invested in dealing with unanticipated problems unique to winter weather takes a toll on unprepared homeowners. For instance, freezing temperatures increase the likelihood of accidents, like burst plumbing pipes, that lead to expensive repairs; and, homeowners unnecessarily spend more on heating costs if the home is drafty. Save time, money and energy before winter strikes. Prepare your home so its occupants will comfortably dodge the winter chills all season long.
Maintain the Furnace
Heat Issue: A furnace can malfunction at any time. Common reasons furnaces break down include dirty filters, a cracked heat exchanger, a flickering pilot light, worn ball bearings and a broken thermostat.
Winterization Tip: Professionally inspect the furnace once a year, ideally before the cold months arrive. A furnace inspection involves checking the thermostat settings, lubricating parts, changing the filter and ensuring electrical connections are in operation.
Benefit: Homeowners who proactively schedule a furnace inspection prior to the winter season can be confident their abode will be toasty and comfortable despite subfreezing temps. Don’t be left without heat. Performing annual inspections and maintenance lengthens the furnace’s lifespan, helps save on energy costs and reduces health risks.
Gutter Issue: Icicles are a breathtaking sight. Dangling ice along the rooftop, however, points toward a more alarming issue: ice dams caused by blocked gutters.
Winterization Tip: Clean the gutters prior to winter’s arrival to ensure a clear pathway for water to drain freely.
Benefit: Directing winter moisture away from the home prevents potential leaks into the foundation or along the rooftop and siding.
Draft Issue: Cold air seeps into the gap under the door, leading to wasted energy of 5 to 30 percent annually.
Winterization Tip: Install a draft snake to the space beneath the door. Easily handmade, a draft snake can be assembled by rolling a towel or adding cat litter to fabric and then cushioning it under the drafty door. Alternately, draft snakes can be purchased from hardware stores.
Benefit: Stop chilly air from unnecessarily seeping into the home. A draft snake also prevents heated air from gushing out.
Circulate Warm Air
Air Circulation Issue: Heated air fails to fully circulate around the home, remaining near the ceilings of the rooms.
Winterization Tip: Switch the ceiling fan on during a cold spell, and be sure it runs clockwise. A ceiling fan that runs counterclockwise in winter is ineffective.
Benefit: Heated air is pushed downward by ceiling fans running in a clockwise direction, allowing warm air to circulate throughout each room. Heating bills can be reduced up to 10 percent with this proven tactic.
Greenery Issue: Heavy snow and ice accumulates along tree branches in the dead of winter. When these tree branches are located in close proximity to power lines, a roof, walkway, garage or windows, the limbs can break and crash down. The resulting physical damage leaves the homeowner with hefty repairs.
Winterization Tip: Decaying trees can easily break under the weight of a snowfall. Trim these branches and any nearby greenery. Winter offers an ideal season to prune the trees, since the branches are clearly visible without their autumn foliage.
Benefit: Rest assured overhanging tree branches will not give way during a winter storm, keeping the roof, cars and windows safe from crashing tree limbs.
Install Storm Doors
Air Leak Issue: A door likely permits cold air to enter the home via tiny cracks. As a result, the warm air flows out of the house, along with your heating efforts.
Winterization Tip: Install a protective storm door to the home’s main entrance. Single-panel steel styles, doors with decorative glass and retractable screen doors are available.
Benefit: While adding a pleasing aesthetic element, storm doors have important functions. The storm door offers insulation and airflow regulation. The resulting temperature regulation is a major advantage.
Program the Thermostat
Temperature Control Issue: A programmable thermostat allows the homeowner to regulate the temperature inside the home at different times. When the thermostat is set and forgotten, the home is heated equally whether anyone is home or not. When the home is unoccupied for a span, wasted energy costs result.
Winterization Tip: Program the thermostat to a lower temperature when no one is at home. If your home features a non-programmable thermostat, remember to turn the temperature down whenever you leave the home.
Benefit: Homeowners see their energy bills reduced one percent for every degree the temperature is lowered, according to the US Department of Energy.
Plug the Chimney
Flue Issue: An unused fireplace allows cold drafts to enter the home. Drafts can enter in the event the flue damper is missing, broken or warped.
Winterization Tip: Use a chimney balloon to plug the fireplace when not in use. Available for under $100, a chimney balloon can be purchased from hardware stores or online.
Benefit: Save money and heat by creating an airtight seal. The blockage prevents the unnecessary drafts from the chimney from seeping inside.
Pipe Exposure Issue: Uninsulated water pipes are exposed to wintry air. When water freezes inside the pipes, especially exterior ones, the frozen pipes easily rupture, leading to significant water damage.
Winterization Tip: Insulate the pipes with fiberglass sleeves or foam rubber.
Benefit: The chances that insulated pipes will burst are greatly reduced. Possible water damage is simultaneously averted.
In the event your winterized home is damaged by burst water pipes, turn to Brooklyn and Staten Island’s swiftest responder to water damage, ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete. Our team of skilled technicians utilize cutting edge water damage restoration techniques and equipment to extract all excess moisture from the premises.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete is experienced in handling burst pipes and the water damage that results. Along with removing all traces of water from the scene, the specialists clean and restore the affected area. Return to a habitable home with the expertise from ServiceMaster Restoration.
Serving the New York City and New Jersey areas, ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete is available 24 hours a day to immediately address your emergency water damage restoration needs.