Winter is Coming

Photo by Simon Matzinger

Cold Weather is Upon Us

Getting a head start on preventative measures can save you time and energy when the temperature drops.  Some basic DIY can go a long way toward preserving your home. 

The only draft anyone gets excited about is the NFL’s.  Seal up windows and doorways with caulk and a fresh coat of paint to keep the cold air out.  A little weatherstripping will prevent the daylight from creeping in.  Walk around your home and check for chipped/peeling paint.  Scrape & sand any bad spots and again, cover with paint.  A gallon of exterior trim paint runs around $30, but replacing rotted wood could set you back hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars.

We like to play “how long can we freeze” before turning the heat on in our house.  Before you switch your system over, change the filters; it is literally the least you can do.  There are two schools of thought when it comes to filters: buy ’em cheap and change them often or buy the premium and let ’em ride.  I prefer the cheap filters and change them monthly; the premium heavy-duty filters can strain your system as it tries to intake air.  Want to do more than scratch the surface of HVAC maintenance?  Hire a professional to inspect your system!  Better yet, look into annual service contracts!  It is better to prevent than to repair/replace (especially when your house is freezing).

Pay some attention to your roof and gutters.  Are they covered with leaves and debris?  Of course, they are.  Now is the perfect time to call your unsuspecting friend with an extension ladder!  Not sure how to ask for help, try this:  Hi (insert friends name)!  Do you have plans this weekend?  <No.>  Great, swing by my house and help me clean my gutters, bring your ladder! (offer to supply snacks/refreshments).

Masonry likes to form sneaky cracks that can lead to loose bricks.  Treat yo’self to a professional and get it taken care of before it becomes a major issue.  If you are feeling handy, for $6 you can purchase a tube of grey concrete/masonry sealant.  No flannel shirt and vest required.

We live in the South, where ice is always a bigger issue than snow.  Trim back branches and shrubs that can cause damage when covered in ice.  Are you the proud owner of a Bradford Pear? Nothing splits under the weight of ice like a Bradford Pear tree. Make sure you have seasonal access to a chainsaw.

It’s always a good idea to inspect your attic too.  Squirrels and birds get cold and like to hang out inside. They also like to gnaw at trim and wreak havoc while no one is paying attention. Don’t get bested by vermin! Seal up any holes to prevent animals from getting inside.

Now is also the time to change the batteries out in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.  Don’t let them start chirping at you in the middle of the night – you’ll never figure out which one it is. Amazon Basics 9 Volt Batteries are a steal!

Freezing temps in the forecast?  Make sure to let your faucets drip!  Frozen pipes like to burst and plumbers like to put their kids through college on what they charge you for repairs.  A frozen pipe that does not burst yields the COLDEST shower you will ever take.

Stay warm out there!