It’s essential for homeowners to properly prepare for winter’s arrival. Winterizing your home helps keep your heating costs as low as possible, all while improving indoor comfort. It also helps prevent potentially costly problems from developing over the course of the winter, problems like ice dams, flashing leaks, or structural water damage.
Winterizing your home has two main objectives. First, you’ll create a tight “shell” around your home to prevent heat from escaping. Second, you’ll identify issues that require immediate repair so you don’t have to worry about major problems developing during the cold-weather months.
12 Home Winterizing Tips From a Roofing Contractor
From a roofing perspective, the most important home winterization tasks focus on your roof, attic, door and windows.
Here’s a breakdown of what you should do to prepare your roof for winter:
- Start with some basic gutter inspection and maintenance – check and clean your gutters and downspouts during the fall, then check again as winter approaches to make sure they’re not clogged with debris. Common gutter issues that necessitate gutter repair include:
- Blocked drainage: Pooled water can mean that the gutter hangers are installed improperly or missing, or that the gutter pitch needs to be positioned at a sharper downward angle.
- Water trickling: Water that trickles between the gutter and your home’s fascia may be the result of damaged gutter aprons. These small pieces attach to both the roof and the gutter, but can be repaired or replaced quite easily.
- Sags, cracks and holes: The gutters, themselves, can become damaged from ice, hail and high winds.
- Look for damaged or missing shingles, and repair or replace them promptly. Small holes or cracks in shingles can often be repaired with roof sealant, applied with a caulking gun. Curled shingles can often be cemented back in place. Torn shingles can also be fixed using roofing cement.
- Take a look around your chimney flashing to make sure there are no loose elements that could lead to leaks. If you find a section of flashing that looks questionable, it’s better to replace it now rather than keeping your fingers crossed through the winter months. Flashing is inexpensive to replace, particularly when compared to the costs of repairing a roof damaged by a roof leak.
Moving into your attic, take care of these essential tasks:
- Check your attic insulation to make sure it’s adequate. This is critical if you want to avoid ice dams as lack of proper attic insulation can lead to their formation. Ice dams can cause serious and expensive to repair damage so prevention is key.
- See if there are air leaks in your attic, and if so, block them out with caulking. Seal off any exposed ductwork in your attic.
- If you have an attic fan, reverse its direction so it helps warm air rise instead of sending cool air down.
- Assess your attic ventilation. Make sure that none of your home’s exhaust vents travel through your roof soffits on their route outside. Ventilate your eaves and ridge baffles.
- Cover your attic steps with a wooden crate to help prevent heat loss.
Finally, winterize your windows and doors:
- Check your windows for air leaks by holding a candle or a stick of incense up to your closed windows on a windy day; if the candle flame or smoke trail flickers, your windows are leaking.
- Seal off window leaks with plastic shrink wrap or rope caulking.
- Add weatherstripping around the edges of your doors to help keep cold air out and warm air inside.
- Consider upgrading to weather-resistant doors and windows if problems persist.
Should you detect any problems with your roof or attic that you can’t fix on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local professional. It’s very important to ensure your home is in the best shape it can be before winter arrives, so don’t take chances.
Invest in a professional inspection!
The National Roofing Contractor’s Association recommends semi-annual roof inspections to keep your home safe from weather-related roof damage. The fall and spring are optimum times to schedule both a roof inspection and a gutter cleaning.
An experienced roofer can provide a comprehensive repair estimate to help you in maintaining and caring for your roof. Take advantage of their skill and know-how to keep your roof performing its best for decades to come!
LGC Roofing is a family owned/operated NJ & PA roofing company with over 30 years of experience in residential/commercial roofing, siding, and gutters installation/repair. Call 609-712-8157 in NJ or (215) 932-7850 in PA to schedule your free, no-obligation estimate.
The two “extreme temperature” seasons – winter and summer – are the ones that tend to cost homeowners the most when it comes to their energy bills. In winter, homeowners use their heating systems more often, and that’s a major reason why their energy consumption goes up.
However, it’s crucially important to evaluate how well your home retains heat once you’ve spent the time and money to warm it up. That’s why most fall home maintenance tips that will slash your energy bill are aimed at improving your home’s energy efficiency.
Use These Winning Strategies to Reduce Home Energy Costs This Fall
Here are 10 proven ways to make small changes and fixes around your home that can add up to big energy savings:
- Install a programmable thermostat. These inexpensive devices allow you to create custom home heating programs that warm your home to precise levels at peak times while saving energy when extra warmth isn’t needed. And remember, for every degree you lower the thermostat during the heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill.
- Add/upgrade insulation in key areas (including attics, basement ceiling, exterior walls and around electrical sockets) can help reduce your heating costs by keeping a more warm air inside the home and inhibiting thermal transfer. Attics, basements, and walls adjacent to your home’s exterior should all be carefully checked to make sure they’re adequately insulated. If they’re not, valuable heat will just leak right through.
- Check your caulking and weather-stripping. Cold air seeping in and warm inside air leaking out accounts for major energy waste – simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year. Weatherizing your home seals off drafty areas around doors and window frames, where cold air can leak in and warm air can escape. Seal off drafty doors with rubber strips, or install new storm doors to help energy efficiency.
- Tune up your heating system. Annual furnace tune-ups keep your heating equipment running as efficiently as possible, which means they do a better job of generating warmth while using less energy. Replace filters monthly during heating season – dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Replacing them regularly will improve your furnace’s efficiency and longevity saving your money along the way. Have a licensed technician perform a check of your furnace to make sure it’s operating as efficiently and safely as possible and is equal to the challenge of keeping your home warm all winter. Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating costs.
- Seal cracks, gaps and leaks. Fireplaces, ridge vents, electrical outlets, light fixtures, eaves, ducts, fans, vents, and wall penetrations for plumbing infrastructure are all common culprits when it comes to cracks, gaps, and leaks. Check these areas and seal the leaks. You could cut your home’s energy usage by as much as 10 percent.
- Dial down your water heater. By default, water heaters are usually set to 140 degrees. That’s far hotter than you’re ever likely to need, and it also creates a safety hazard. Instead, dial it back to 120 degrees to save 6 to 10 percent on your water heating costs. You can also wrap water heaters and exposed indoor pipes that transport hot water with insulation to help prevent any energy loss.
- Use window treatments strategically. Thick curtains create an added barrier that traps warmth in your home during the winter, just as they ward off heat gain during the summer.
- Upgrade your windows and doors. Energy Star-rated windows and doors can also go a long way toward inhibiting heat transfer. If your windows and doors are old, thin, and drafty, chances are it will make more financial sense to replace them.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans. Make sure your ceiling fans are set to rotate clockwise during winter. This will push warm air down, helping it circulate through the lower reaches of the room more easily. Changing the direction of your ceiling fans will circulate the air pooled near the ceiling back down – cutting your heating costs as much as 10%. Try out this tip in rooms with high ceilings and you’ll see a major difference without adjusting the thermostat even a single degree.
- Get a home energy audit. This is the most comprehensive way to get a complete view of where you should focus on making improvements. Home energy audits, as conducted by professionals, detail exactly how and exactly where energy is being used – and wasted.
Most of these tasks can be completed in just a short time, and many don’t require any specialized knowledge or advanced DIY skills. However, for best results, leave the demanding tasks to certified local professionals. The small investment you make today can add up to sustained savings tomorrow, and for many winters to come.
If you need help preparing your home for winter, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience.
Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below
Get your no-obligation quote!
DIY experts say fall and spring are the two major home maintenance seasons, with the former being especially important – if you overlook your autumn maintenance tasks, you risk leaving your home vulnerable to the many problems that wild winter weather can bring. These problems can be very expensive to repair, to say nothing of the inconveniences they can cause.
The smart move is to get a jump on your fall maintenance during the summer, when the days are still long and the weather warm.
Get Started in Summer with These Essential Fall Home Maintenance Tasks
Here are 10 high-priority fall maintenance tasks you should start during the summertime:
- Inspect your roof. Check your roof carefully for signs of wear and tear, like missing or damaged shingles. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing onto your roof, grab a pair of binoculars and use them to inspect all visible parts of your roof from a distance. Or call a roofer.
- Service your furnace. Have a professional technician come in and perform seasonal heating system maintenance. Most home heating specialists aren’t busy in summer, meaning it should be easy to book an appointment. Your furnace will run more reliably and economically if it’s properly serviced, so this is an investment that can pay dividends.
- Clean your chimney. If you’ve got a fireplace, now is the time to make sure the remnants of last winter’s fires are all cleared out. It’s also a good idea to get a head start on restocking your firewood, especially if you cut it yourself.
- Insulate exposed pipes. Pipe bursts are one of the most feared wintertime home mishaps, as they are a nightmare to clean up after. A key way to avoid them is to insulate your exposed pipes so trapped water won’t freeze and cause a burst.
- Prune your bushes and trees. Well-trimmed trees, shrubs and hedges don’t just look better – they also grow better in the long run. By pruning now, you’ll give them the advantage of continued health through the rest of the growing season and put them in great shape to come back strong next year.
- Check your snow removal gear. Is your snow blower functioning properly? Are all your snow shovels in ship-shape and ready for another winter? Now is the time to find out.
- Check your weatherstripping. Quality, properly applied weatherstripping adds a vital layer of protection around windows and doors, helping keep heat inside during the winter. Give yours an upgrade before fall arrives, since you never quite know when you’ll need to turn your heat on for the first time.
- Clear your gutters. You’ll need to do this again in the late fall to clear out autumn’s remnants, but a preliminary cleaning effort now will make that task less time-consuming.
- Measure your slope. If you haven’t done so in a while, check your property’s grade rate to make sure it is adequately sloped to guide water away from your home when the snow melts in springtime. Erosion can affect property grading over time, so if it’s been a few years, you’re better safe than sorry.
- Check your detectors. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order and have fresh batteries. During the winter, your windows are closed and your combustion appliances are on more often. That’s part of the reason it’s especially important to make sure your CO2 detector is functioning properly.
Take care of these tasks while the weather is still warm and sunny and your home will be in great shape heading toward winter.
If you need help preparing your home for winter, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience. Whether you need your furnace serviced, gutters repaired, or water damage handled, we’re here to help!
Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below
Get your no-obligation quote!