One of the most important tasks facing you over the next few weeks will be the act of winterizing your home interior. This will probably mean just a few touching up jobs here and there if you take good and regular care of your house or apartment, year in and year out. If on the other hand, you have recently moved into a new residence which has been neglected, then the task of preparing the home for winter might be quite extensive and expensive. The following areas will need to be explored and evaluated.
The cheaper and easiest locations in the home to check and fix usually involve the following. Central heating vents need to be cleared which can be done with a simple duster or vacuum cleaner. Air filters of any kind should be replaced annually so it’s important to keep tabs on when there were last changed, especially if someone in the family suffers from breathing difficulties.
Windows and exterior doors should be checked for drafts. This can be as simple as placing your hand over and around the possible areas where gaps might appear. One of my favorite ways to check for tiny drafts is to hold an opened paper tissue near any suspect areas. If a draft is found, then install weather-stripping to the base and sides of exterior doors. For windows, caulk around the panes to seal them from the outside air.
Another place to inspect when winterizing the home is wherever the water heaters are located. These are usually found in the basement. In order to make the water heaters more efficient, one can wrap extra insulation around the apparatus. This will not only increase its efficiency but also protect it from temperature related cracks and reduce overall energy costs.
More expensive and work intensive options for winterizing a home include the following. Fitting insulation in your attic or roof space can prevent a lot of heat escaping during the winter months. This is due to the fact that hot air rises and so without any insulation, the heat will escape and the result will be a cooler house and also a lot of expensive extra heating. Good high rated insulation will be reasonably expensive but will last many years and cut costs in other areas.
One of the appliances I have written about before on this blog is the warm mist humidifier. These will increase the quality of air in the home when all windows, doors and other vents are closed. This is especially important for family members who suffer from allergies and asthma. It also acts in reducing the likelihood of catching colds and flu.
Depending on where in the world you live, a Winter can mean a lot more rain and snowfall than usual. This can lead to flooding. Most homes will have a basement of some kind and so it is vital to purchase a pump, or in particular, a sump pump. This will prevent your home being flooded during heavy precipitation periods. In fact, in some locations, this should be a piece of equipment you have working all year round. Like with the pump, if you live in a place which regularly suffers from high winds and hurricanes, one should look into installing storm windows. These will prevent damage and also provide special insulation.
Finally, if you leave your home during the colder months for more than a week or two, one might think insulation is not a concern. Well, no. Your furniture and indoor pipes will still suffer from the extreme cold. Wood and similar materials can split in very cold conditions, as can thin metal piping and structures. This can leave you returning to a flooded home or a dangerously cracked chair which could later lead to an unpleasant accident.
The best option for winterizing a vacant home is to install a thermostat, if you don’t have one already. Pipes and all interior furnishings will be kept safe as long as the temperature is maintained around 40° F (4° C). The thermostat usually has a low setting of 50° F (10° C) which is more than adequate. Doing this will insure less damage and also a more cosy interior space when you return.
The last thing you need to check if leaving the residence for some period of time is that the main water source in your home is turned off and that every pipe, drain and faucet is drained of water. If not, when the temperature plummets below freezing, water will expand and lead to widespread and expensive damage.
This all might seem a lot of work and in some cases, may seem pointless or something that can be left until a later date. However, in order to save money, prevent costly damage and keep you and your family in the best of health and comfort, it’s important to fully winterize your home interior.