As we prepare for another brutal Chicago winter, we also tend to get caught up in all the exciting holiday season prep and festivities. Are you planning a kitchen remodel in time for your family is able to come over in the new year? Do you have such a full calendar of activities that you forgot to get the house ready for winter? Michael Gould wants to help guide you with a checklist so nothing inside OR outside gets overlooked! Our 30+ years of building experience provides a prioritized checklist to keep you focused.
Winter Preparation Checklist for your Home:
- Windows and doors could be the major reason your home is ill-prepared for winter. Check your windows to feel if a draft is coming through. Cold air getting into your home while heat is escaping will cost you a lot of money when trying to keep your family warm. Many people try to band-aid the problem with window film, but the only way to truly fix the issues is replacing the window. Most drafts are caused by the window not being flush against the frame or cracks along the edges. When you install a new window, it will fit snugly against the window frame and prevent drafts from entering. Windows don’t take long to install, let us hep get yours ready before the holidays!
- Fireplaces and chimneys need attention. Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected before you start building those cozy fires. The National Fire Protection Association recommends chimneys be swept at least once a year, at the beginning of winter, to remove soot and debris. You can find a certified chimney sweep at Chimney Safety Institute of America. Also, make sure you’re familiar with how to work a fireplace before you attempt to start a fire. ”A good chimney sweep company will make sure the fireplace is safe to use, and it can also identify maintenance problems. Remember to order your load of firewood. Stack and cover it in a good location in the yard. Also, have any old firewood that is rotten, removed away from your home. For more tips on how to prepare your fireplace for winter, check out this article!
- New home owners might not be aware of the importance of reversing ceiling fans. If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after turning on your heat for the winter. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises). This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings – and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings!
- Prep the plumbing. According to HGTV, they suggest draining the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses, and arrange to have any in-ground sprinkler pipes blown out. All garden hoses should be rolled up and stored inside the garage or in a shed. Identify any “problem” pipes that are prone to freezing in the house. Heat tape is a great tool to keep them warm during extremely cold weather. Educate your family, so in the unfortunate event of a pipe bursting, they know how to turn the water off at the source. You will minimize damage by doing that quickly.
- Are you tired of your feet brushing against cold floors? If you’re thinking about radiant heating, wondering about the pros and cons and how heated floors actually work, let us help you arrive at the best decision for your family. Electric radiant heating is definitely customizable and trending. While they increase your energy efficiency, they are so easy to install. Radiant flooring will add value to your home if you decide to sell in the future. Ready to warm up your holidays? Lets replace your current kitchen or great room flooring!
- Maintain your furnace regularly. Money Talk News shares simple but practical tips. Check and replace your furnace filters monthly in the winter. Whether you can simply rinse them down or actually change them, your owner’s manual will tell you where to find the filter. Dirty furnace filters reduce furnace efficiency and push up heating bills. They also shorten the life of a furnace.
- In the winter there is a higher incidence of house fires. Since we’re blasting the furnace or building indoor fires, carbon monoxide is a hazard because windows and doors are locked up tightly. Check all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and that they have charged batteries. If your home is not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, consider getting some. Schedule a professional service call with your HVAC company to ensure your furnace and water heater are properly vented, which is the most likely source of carbon monoxide.
We have touched on a few of the major comfort and safety concerns for homeowners as the seasons change. Winter’s weather is unpredictable as we have already experienced snow on Halloween! Procrastination is not your friend when it comes to protecting your family and your home from the elements. Holidays are for creating beautiful memories, sharing love and laughter. Our goal is to keep our clients warm, safe and create their dream homes!