Winter in Utah is chilly and wet, which are two things you definitely don't want in your home. Preparing your home for the winter months, before the temperature drops, will help you stay cozy and comfortable and will keep your energy bills in check. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when preparing your Utah home for winter is waiting too long to start. The sooner you perform property maintenance, the more comfortable the winter will be.
Check Your Furnace
Your furnace works hard during the winter to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. In the fall, it's a good idea to schedule furnace service and a tune-up to make sure everything still works well. Annual furnace maintenance helps you detect and fix problems before they require expensive repairs. It also gives you a good idea of how the furnace is doing and whether you might need to replace it soon.
Also, be sure to replace the air filter when your schedule your furnace inspection. The filter traps dust and particulates and keeps them from circulating through your home. It also helps your furnace operate more efficiently, saving you money on energy bills. For best results, swap out the filter at least every three months.
Inspect Your Fireplace
What's cozier than curling up around a fireplace on a winter's night? Not much. To create that cozy environment, though, you need to have a fireplace that's in good working order. As the temperatures start to dip, check your fireplace, both inside and out, to make sure all is well. You might need to clean the fireplace, too, to remove built-up dirt and debris such as bird's nests.
If you have a gas fireplace, check the igniter to make sure it functions. Light the fireplace and keep an eye out for any clogged burner holes. Inspect the logs and the glass of the fireplace to make sure they are intact.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
Chilly air can seep into your home through cracks or openings around the windows and doors. If your home is drafty, sealing the windows and doors helps to keep out the cold air, improving your comfort and lowering your energy bills.
You can seal windows and doors in a few ways. Installing V-seal weather stripping on the sides of windows blocks drafts while still allowing you to open and close the window. A door seal, attached to the bottom of exterior doors, keeps drafts from seeping in along the lower edge. On the exterior of your home, you can use caulk to seal openings on window or door frames.
Another option is to seal the windows with shrink film to block drafts. Attach the film to the sides of the window frame inside your home. Use a hairdryer to shrink the plastic film, creating a tight seal and an additional layer of insulation against the cold.
Clean the Gutters
Gutters and downspouts can get clogged with leaves, branches, and other debris, which can cause water to back up. Over time, clogged gutters can lead to structural damage to your home.
Before winter weather sets in, spend a day cleaning the gutters. It's also a good idea to inspect the gutters. Look out for any that are sagging or are loose, as those might be more likely to fall off. If you see any sagging gutters or other signs of damage, either tighten them or replace them if they are severely damaged.
Clean Up Your Yard
After you've cleaned the gutters, spend some time tidying up the rest of your yard. To keep exterior pipes from freezing, detach any hoses from spigots. Make sure to thoroughly drain the hoses before storing them. Turn the spigot on, then shut off the water supply to the exterior pipes. Let the water drain completely from the spigot to avoid any freezing damage over the winter.
Trim back any tree branches and clean up fallen leaves or dying plants. Rake the leaves and use them as mulch to keep garden beds insulated over the winter. It's particularly important to trim branches that hang over your roof, as you don't want them to fall on your house during a winter storm. If there are any dead or dying trees on your property, consider having them professionally cut down before winter.
If you have garden tools, barbecue grills, or other equipment that you kept outside during the summer and early fall, move it to an indoor location for the winter. A garage or shed will work well.
Protect Your Pipes
Just as you want to protect exterior pipes from freezing in the winter, you also want to protect the pipes inside your home. Depending on the location of the plumbing in your house, some pipes might be more prone to freezing than others. Wrap any pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures with foam or heat tape to keep them warm.
To minimize the risk of pipes freezing, make sure your home is always at least 55 degrees. In the midst of a cold snap, turn the water on and let it trickle through the pipes. Running water is less likely to freeze.
Upgrade Your Utah Home for Winter
If your home is perennially drafty or if you've had problems with freezing pipes or damage from strong storms in the past, it might be time to renovate. 10X Builders can help transform your home in Utah County into your dream home. Contact us today to learn more.