With just over a month before winter is officially here, it’s time to start thinking about prepping your home for the cold winter months ahead. With the holidays soon approaching, now is probably the best time to start winterizing your home. If you are not entirely sure what you should be doing to prep your home for this winter, this article from Enviro Maids, has some great tips on how to get your home clean and safe for the frigid months ahead.
Daylight savings time ends, now the winter home prep begins!
Smoke and carbon monoxide detector test
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges homeowners to check their lifesaving devices once a month to make certain they are working properly. Consult the instruction manual for your particular model for important instructions. The NFPA also recommends replacing fire and carbon monoxide detectors every 10 years.
Have your furnace checked by a professional once a year. If you haven’t gotten it done already this year, now is the time to get it properly inspected. Also, according to Popular Mechanics, replace or clean your furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters can block airflow resulting in an increased energy demand — putting a strain on your furnace and on your wallet. The type of filter you choose is also important. Certain filters do a better job at trapping debris. Popular Mechanics recommends an electrostatic filter for its ability to trap around 88 percent of debris. Another great choice is a genuine HEPA filter which can remove at least 99.97 percent of airborne particles.
Switch your fan in reverse
Ceiling fans often take a vacation during the winter. After all, most people use them to keep cool in the hot months. But did you know that your fan can actually help keep your home warm during the winter AND reduce your energy bill by up to 10 percent? When fan blades spin counterclockwise, they produce that refreshing breeze that cools you down in the warmer months; when the blades spin clockwise, they create an updraft that pushes the warmer air that collects near the ceiling back down. Most ceiling fans come with a direction switch on the unit; simply flip the switch, set the fan on low and enjoy the toasty warm air.
Fight stormy weather with storm windows and doors
Swapping out your screens for storm windows and doors is a tedious task, but well worth it; doing so helps to seal out drafts and prevents the frigid outdoor air from creeping indoors.
Clear your dryer’s vent and ducts
In addition to cleaning the lint filter after every drying cycle, the NFPA recommends taking the time now to check that the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating. Be sure to clean accumulated lint out of the vent pipe, as the lint that collects in the pipes and the ducts outside your home are common causes of dryer fires.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), have your wood burning fireplace inspected annually by a certified professional. The professional will sweep your chimney, remove creosote buildup (a residue that builds up on the chimney’s inner walls and can cause chimney fires) and check for any structural problems. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, it still should be inspected before lighting it to make sure objects such as bird’s nest haven’t blocked the inside.
Seal up leaks
When the temperature dips and the winds start to howl, any leaks or cracks around your windows, doors, vents, or pipes become noticeable. Uncomfortable drafts can be remedied by installing weather-stripping or caulking windows and doors, and sealing electrical outlets. Caulk inside and out, if necessary, to prevent heat from escaping.
Other miscellaneous tasks:
- Flip your mattress to ensure even wear and to extend the life of your mattress; if you have a pillow-top mattress, rotate it instead. Also take this time to thoroughly vacuum your mattress and box spring.
- Make sure all heating vents are opened and unblocked. Check that large pieces of furniture such as couches aren’t blocking baseboard heating elements. Move couches at least a foot away to ensure even heat distribution.