The holiday season has ended and in Columbia, South Carolina our winter has begun. This is the time of year that many homeowners start to notice new quirks to their homes such as bitter cold drafts and extra creepy crawlies entering the house. To protect your home from all of winter’s gifts this year, check out these great tips below!
1. Weather stripping
This was my personal project over the holidays. Weather stripping is a way to deal with gaps around your windows and doors without sealing them shut. My experience has been that it is very quick and simple to do. For each window in my home I opened it, cleaned the area thoroughly and checked for any signs of rot, placed on a strip that came with adhesive, and closed the window. While small gaps may not seem too important, over time they will cause significant loss of heat.
2. Caulk it up
Have you been feeling drafts around your window and door frames? Take a walk outside your house to see if there are any gaps in the seals. Over time as the weather changes window sills may pull away from the siding resulting in gaps that allow the cold air into your home. A simple fix may be to purchase some caulk and seal up those gaps. There are also window insulation kits that can be purchased to help decrease any heat loss through the paneling.
3. Faucet covers
As winter comes and yard maintenance lessens, many people forget about their outdoor faucets and water elements. Although freezing temperatures are not drastically low in Columbia, SC it still pays off to insulate your pipes and faucets from the cold. Buying a $2 faucet cover and installing it only takes a few minutes and saves you from dealing with a burst pipe or a leaking faucet later in the summer. When showing homes I have seen some very creative alternatives to purchasing a cover, from duct taped plastic bags to gym socks. Personally I recommend purchasing a cover from your local store that you can keep in your garage on the off months. Just watch out next year as they make great homes for spiders!
4. Cut branches and bushes away from home
It is always recommend that your beautiful plant life be kept from touching your house. While brick homes are a bit more durable to the occasional caress of a nearby bush, homes with vinyl siding will eventually show the wear and tear. In the winter it is very important to make sure that your bushes and trees are cut back especially from your roof. It only takes one sudden freeze to bring a limb down on your house and that is not a draft that weather stripping will fix. If you do not feel up to climbing up a ladder, give us a call and we can recommend a vendor!
5. Program your thermostat
Programmable thermostats are great for those that like to “set it and forget it”. If you have one, be sure to research your area and find what temperature is recommended during the winter. Although many people may gladly suffer through cold temperatures in their homes to cut costs, the reality is that your home should be kept at a fairly reasonable temperature to avoid any issues with your plumbing.
6. Pest control
As it turns colder, humans are not the only ones seeking refuge in our warm, cozy homes. If you have a pest control company spraying your yard then they will probably contact you about continuing winter treatments to keep out the creepy crawlies. Alternatively there are several home treatments you can do yourself. There are many different home defense sprays that you can use along your baseboards, vents, windows, and doors both inside and out that will repel pests. If you are more in favor of a natural deterrent there are many recipes out there for essential oils that repel bugs.
7. Check your chimney
If you are like me, you generally forget that your house came with a fire place until its very cold and you think how nice a fire would be. Before you light one be diligent and check your chimney to be sure it is clear of debris. If you have a gas fireplace, be sure that the equipment is functioning properly so that you can enjoy your fire without worry.
8. Reverse your fans
As we learned in middle school science, hot air rises. Fortunately most ceiling fans come equipped with a switch that changes the blades rotation from counter clockwise to clockwise. Doing this causes the fan blades to push the warmer air down into the room. Although it sounds counterintuitive you may stay warmer this winter with your fans on low.
9. Clean out the gutters
As the leaves fall endlessly, the time comes to clear our the gutters and any sections of your roof that collect debris. Clearing out the gutters helps ensure that you wont be dealing with a build up of ice when it rains and freezes. This allows the water to keep moving away from you and your home. If your roof has areas that leaves tend to gather in, it is important to clear those out. Although it may not seem like a danger, a large pile of leaves sitting on your roof over time will damage the tiles by trapping in moisture and weighing them down.
10. HVAC tune-up
Yearly maintenance on your HVAC is a must to keep your system running efficiently and catch any problems early on. Have your service provider come out for their fall inspection and check out your system.
11. Take care of your equipment
Yard equipment such as lawnmowers may not be getting used during the winter. To keep it in good shape it is advised to drain the gasoline out of it until spring rolls back around. If you have grilling equipment that you do not plan on using while the temperatures are low, be sure to cover them for protection from the rain and ice.
12. Hang curtains
This has been a topic of debate among my friends. Many times I have heard an explanation for leaving the curtains drawn back and blinds open as they will let in sunlight and therefore heat. Sadly, unless it is direct sunlight, this actually allows more heat to escape your home. Hanging thick, blackout curtains and keeping them shut helps insulate the windows and keep the heat in your home from flowing out the windows.
13. Storm doors and windows
Should you feel inclined to replace your doors and windows, storm doors and windows are often recommended as they are well insulated. Many companies recommend them as an effective way to make your home more energy efficient, for more information check out this linked article.
These are just some of many tips for winterizing your home during the winter months. Winterizing your home is important even in cities that have milder winters like Columbia, South Carolina. Taking the time to accomplish a few of these may save you on your bills during the year as well as protect your home from damage during the winter months.
Sending warm wishes your way,
The Carolina Girls