Here are a few things you should do to make sure your house is prepared for the harsh weather of winter.
- Have your furnace serviced by an HVAC professional.
Make sure that everything is working properly, including the thermostat. Installing a programmable thermostat not only takes the worry out of when your thermostat will operate, but can also save you some money on heating costs. Also remember to check the area around your furnace for any flammable materials that may have accumulated through the spring and summer months. It’s also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace.
- Thoroughly check your doors and windows.
Most of the heat loss occurring in your home will be through doors and windows. Make sure that all the weather stripping is doing its job by properly protecting your home from air infiltration. Check for any cracked or broken glass and replace it. Make sure all of your windows are properly caulked. Go outside and make sure that all pipe entry points or other crevices are sealed. If you have basement windows, you may want to cover them with a plastic or metal cover when winter arrives.
- Check the top of your chimney to make sure the screen or cap hasn’t been damaged.
If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a while, call in a professional chimney sweep to make sure there are no obstructions that could cause a fire when you are using your fireplace. While they’re there, have them inspect the damper for proper operation.
- Inspect the roof and gutters.
Since you’re up on the roof checking the chimney cap anyway, now would be a good time to inspect the roof and gutters. Check for any worn or missing shingles, check the flashing around your chimney to make sure there are no leaks, and clean any obstructions out of your gutter to ensure proper water flow. Now would also be a good time to go up into the attic to make sure it is properly insulated. Do a thorough inspection as there may have been some unwanted visitors in your attic that you weren’t aware of. Make sure your entire attics’ floor area is adequately insulated.
- Insulate Exposed Water Pipes.
Now would also be a good time to make sure all of your exposed water pipes are properly insulated and locate your outdoor faucet covers to protect them from freezing. Also make sure your outdoor faucets are not leaking. Water leaking from a faucet can freeze in cold weather and cause undue strain on the pipes. If you have leaky faucets, now is the time to replace them.
- Do a quick inspection of your yard.
Have any tree limbs cut back that may be too close to your house or power lines. Tree limbs can accumulate snow and ice and may break off causing damage to your roof or even pull down an electrical line.
- Finally, prepare for an emergency.
If your power goes out, you’ll want to have plenty of blankets available to keep warm until power can be restored. Have plenty of candles, bottled water, and nonperishable food on hand. This is not only a good idea in the event of a power outage, but also if you get snowed in and can’t get to a store.
Alex writes for HeatingOilShopper.com, a home heating oil website helping users compare New York (NY) heating oil prices.