“Winter is here. Again.”
Probably everyone in Denver and its suburbs makes that comment as soon as the temperature falls precipitately or the first snow flies. Depending on whether or not you love to ski or participate in other winter sports, you may make that comment in a tone of anticipation or of dread.
Whether or not you love winter, you probably don’t love the increase in your heating bill that winter brings. However, just as there are steps you can take in summer to lessen your electricity bill, there are also steps you can take to get your home ready for winter and for those cold, snowy, icy and windy days ahead!
1. Have your furnace cleaned and tuned up by a qualified technician
Dean Peterson is a co-founder of Summit Heating and Air Conditioning in Denver, Colorado. He recommends having your furnace turned up every year. “It’s simply an essential task. Over time, a furnace can develop issues such as loose ductwork, clogged air filters, or a malfunctioning thermostat.Even if your furnace still works, it won’t be operating at optimal efficiency and will cost you money,” says Peterson.
2. Clean out your gutters
Even if there are no trees tall enough to overhang your home’s roof, there’s always some way for debris to get into your gutter system. Insects may build nests. Rodents may go exploring, become trapped, and die. The same may happen to birds. Either way, you might have a clog somewhere in your gutter system that may lead to an ice dam. When the barrier melts, the water may find its way into your attic.
You may also consider adding gutter guards, which can ease the need to clean your gutters in the future.
If you clean out the gutters yourself, be sure to be careful and have someone standing by next to your ladder to hold it steady.
3. Prune trees
If you do have trees near your home, prune all branches that come anywhere near your roof. Even if you’re not concerned about leaves, snow and ice buildup on the limbs can cause them to break off and impact your home.
4. Apply window insulator plastic to your windows
If you don’t have double-glazed windows, cold air can seep through and make every room in your house uncomfortable, causing you to turn up the thermostat to ward off cold drafts. In addition – your warm air can leak out. There are several brands of indoor window insulation plastic you can place on each of your windows as soon as the cold weather comes. Properly applied, this plastic film is not noticeable. It will increase your comfort, reduce your heating bill, and is easy to remove when desired.
5. Check exterior doors
Perform an inspection of each exterior door. Are there gaps between the door and the door jamb? Between the bottom of the door and the threshold? Weathering strips or under-door draft stoppers can help keep cold weather out and warm temperatures in.
6. Drain exterior water hoses and faucets
Remove all the hoses you may have attached to exterior faucets. Drain them and store them inside. In addition, turn off the water to your exterior faucets and drain them as well.
7. Insulate your garage door
Did you know that you can purchase insulation for your garage door? If you have a garage attached to your home, you might want to consider insulating the door and weather stripping the threshold.
8. Sort your tools
· Was your snow blower put away correctly at the end of last winter? Check it before the snow flies to make sure it still works. Put in fresh fuel.
· Are your snow shovels in one place and easily accessible?
· Do you have extra flashlights, batteries, bottles of water and non-perishable food stored in an easy-to-find location in case they are needed?
It’s a good idea to create a checklist of things to do for each season. Choose the same day each year (the first Saturday in a specific month, for example) to perform maintenance on the interior and exterior of your home for that particular season. That way, you know it will get done in advance so that you can relax and enjoy the rest of the season.