We hate to admit it, fall is heading well into the winter season for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. No more shorts and t-shirts, they are swapped out for gloves, toques, and proper footwear...it’s how it goes. While the human body is an easy thing to protect when the weather gets nasty, protecting your home is another matter. Whether you’re on the West Coast where continual rain is the norm or back east where snow makes mountains, there are plenty of things to do around the house to mitigate damage or heat loss.
BBB’s Top 10 Tips for Protecting Your Home from the Elements:
- First up. Do you have a fireplace? Good...get it cleaned so everything is working properly. A flue that can’t close properly means cold air is getting in and warm air is escaping...when you’re not using it that is. A properly cleaned fireplace means less of a fire hazard as well.
- If you like your heat more technologically advanced and have a furnace in your home, get it serviced. Clean out the ducts, replace the filter, and inspect the gas connections. A tip-top shape furnace is cleaner, will save you money, and extend the life of the furnace. Plus carbon monoxide is bad news. Mental note: Get a CO detector.
- This one is cool...cool to be warm. If you have ceiling fans, check to see if they can operate in reverse. This has the advantage of pulling warm air up and throughout the house and can actually help lower your heating bill. Who knew right?
- Drain outside water hoses and outdoor faucets. You’ll have to shut off the main water in the house to drain those particular lines. This prevents any bursting of pipes or wearing of hoses. The big take away? Water expands when it turns to ice!!
- Caulking and weather stripping. Inspect all of your windows to make sure sealant hasn’t worn out and is in need of re-doing. Naturally, a tight seal around windows prevents energy loss going out and moisture from getting in.
- Speaking of drafty cracks, do you like snakes? One of the best inventions of the 20th century was the Draft Snake. Those long, snake-like things that you put at the base of an outside door to prevent a draft. It was invented during the Great Depression as a way to save on heating bills...and it did!
- Roofs. We all have them. Get your roof inspected for any deficiencies. This doesn’t necessarily mean shelling out 20 grand for an entire roof, but perhaps there are weak spots where water can ingress and only a quick and affordable repair is needed.
- While you have someone looking at your roof, get them to look at the venting to make sure it’s working properly. Bathroom vents, of course, can build up moisture and lead to rot. Same for your dryer vent. Make sure flashing around said vents are in good shape and secured properly.
- While you have someone looking at the roof and vents, get them to unclog your gutters. Gutters that cannot drain may have resting water which, of course, can result in ingress, and damage to the gutters and downspouts themselves if ice builds up.
- Brickwork. Bricks mortar are hard and resilient. However, if rain can find a way to get in, it will. Over time, the mortar used to secure the bricks can loosen, become grainy and get washed away. Consider replacing sections of worn out brickwork. Underneath is likely plywood which can give you a bigger problem if mold develops.
- Oh and mom says if it’s cold inside, put on a sweater.