Winter-proofing your home has many benefits that can save you money, keep you comfortable and improve the lifespan of your home. Whether you choose to tackle this yourself or hire a professional, it’s important not to neglect to prepare your home for the colder months. If you do, it could result in water damage, higher energy consumption and a bunch of wasted money.
Save time and money in the long run by safeguarding your house. Read on for eight tips to keep in mind when winter rolls around.
Protect your patio
If you have patio furniture, a BBQ or other items outdoors, bring them inside or shelter them if you can to protect them from damage. If you don’t have anywhere to store them, at least cover these items up for protection from the elements.
Cover firewood with a painter’s tarp so it doesn’t collect water and become too damp to burn in your open fireplace or firepit. Use a rope to secure it in place in case your area faces any heavy winds and rain.
Drain the water out of any garden hoses and store them in a shed or another protected place. If not, in particularly cold areas of Australia water inside can get frosty and weaken the hose’s lining and create punctures.
Don’t forget about gaps
This is an important time to seal any gaps and cracks you see in your window frames, doorways, walls or foundation to prevent cold air or small rodents and possums sneaking in. Foam and caulk fillers are great investments for smaller cracks or openings, and it’s easy to use yourself. For larger openings, use an expanding foam filler that can also be sanded, painted and stained. If you’re filling in cracks around windows, stick to a white paintable caulk that will last for many years.
Insulation has a lot of benefits – reduces draughts, sound and cuts down heating costs. Pay close attention to your roof, underfloor space and around any pipes. Use either foam, fibreglass or cellulose insulation to insulate properly, and make sure you wear a mask to protect yourself from dust and other particles. If you don’t feel confident enough for the job, hire a professional to assess your home’s insulation needs.
You can also close curtains, blinds and shutters when the sun goes down to help keep heat inside. If you do have curtains, the thicker, the better. If you don’t have thick curtains, consider lining them with a thick fabric. Insulating the home can be expensive but is well worth it to save money on heating costs long term.
Protect your exterior
Although you may be overwhelmed with all of the things you need to do inside your home to winter-proof, don’t forget the outside. Your roof is especially vulnerable to damage during winter months. If your roof is in bad shape and needs work, have repairs done before winter hits. If your roofing needs replacing, consider also having that done beforehand to prevent any further damage to it and your home.
Compare roof repair and replacement prices before making your decision. The cost will vary depending on the amount of damage and its age. Although a repair typically costs less than a replacement, a damaged roof is a damaged roof. How much money do you want to invest in a damaged car when you could just put it towards a new one? Same idea. A new roof also increases the value of your home, so that’s another reason you may want to replace your roof instead of repairing it.
Change out your doormats
It’s time to switch out your usual doormats for those with rougher textures, so they can remove mud and other gunk before you enter the home. To protect carpet and clean floors from muddy footprints and water damage add a bench or chair, rubber mat, shoe rack or plastic boot tray by the front door so guests and other members of the household can easily remove and neatly store their dirty shoes.
Bring plants inside
When cold weather arrives, move potted plants inside. If you have flowers, relocate them gradually to reduce shock. Start by bringing them in at night, then taking them back out in the morning. This will decrease any leaf loss that would occur if you were to just switch their environment permanently overnight.
Remember to inspect all plants and flowers before bringing them inside. Look for any fungal diseases or bugs on leaves, branches or in the soil. If you detect any of these things, give your plants a hard spray of water or use insecticidal soap.
Keep filters clean
Dirty filters can negatively affect ventilation, heating efficiency and are a fire hazard. If you have a gas heater (indoors or outdoors) arrange to have it serviced before use every one to two years. This way you’ll have peace of mind there are no carbon monoxide leaks, faults or dust build up in filters. Also, test the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors to be on the safe side.
Don’t waste money on heating bills
During the winter months when it gets cold, heating bills tend to go up – way up. Don’t fall victim to this. Invest in a programmable thermostat, and use it. When you’re at work or gone from your home for a long length of time, set it to turn the heat down and then back up before your return. Some smart programmable thermostats even let you control them from your phone.
Don’t turn your heat all the way off because if your thermostat has to go from one extreme temperature to another, your central heating system will have to work twice as hard, thus costing you more money. Try to keep it around 18 to 21 degrees while you’re gone.
Another thing to keep in mind – keep doors shut to rooms you don’t use, that way the heat from rooms you’re using won’t escape.
Winter-proofing your home and outdoor area is super important because it can save you lots of money – just by doing these basic things. While getting a proper doormat or filling in that small crack by your kitchen window may seem small, these are things that can heavily impact your heating bills and the lifespan of your home.