It’s fall! And before we know it, it will be time to hunker down with cozy blankets, our favorite reads or maybe just a good cup of hot tea. Whatever winter looks like for you, the temperatures are sure to drop well below those summer highs and that means we need to pay attention to some things around the house in case there is a freeze. If you prepare before winter comes, you’ll be sure to see the benefits of winterizing your home. Here we will discuss some of those benefits.
Winterizing Your Home Here in the Pacific NW Checklist
Before we can understand the benefits of winterizing our homes we must first look at what winterizing a home entails. The checklist of to-do’s for how one should winterize their home here in the Pacific NW area include:
- Cleaning out your gutters to prevent ice dams
- Making sure the attic floor is properly insulated
- Insulating pipes that are susceptible to freezing
- Sealing off any cracks with caulking to prevent cold air from seeping through
- Installing weather strips around windows and doors
- Checking your crawl space to make sure it’s properly insulated to prevent loss of warm air
- Checking fire and carbon dioxide detectors
- Replacing HVAC filters
- Sealing outside crawl space vents with covers
- Clearing the yard of debris and cutting back all dead hanging branches that could break off during a wind or snow storm
- Removing all garden hoses and storing them away as well as insulating values and outdoor faucets.
- If you have a fireplace you will want to remove any build up as these should be cleared out at least once a year, particularly before winter when it will get the most use.
- Shutting off your water before you leave on extended trips is also a good idea in case an unexpected freeze were to burst any pipes.
All in all, winterizing your home takes a lot of work but the benefits will be worth it!
Financial Savings of Winterizing Your Home
When thinking about winterizing your home you must look at the potential savings. Winterizing your home ultimately affects the energy efficiency of your home. By sealing cracks to keep cold air from coming inside, checking to make sure that areas of the home are properly insulated and doing things like covering outside vents, you are helping your home retain warm air. By keeping the warm air inside, your furnace system doesn’t have to work overdrive and in turn your energy bill will not break the bank. Unless you live in a warm climate throughout the year, an increase in energy costs is expected. The days of summer savings will leave us temporarily and homeowners will notice an increase of double to even triple depending on certain factors within the home.
When it comes to winterizing a home you are also preventing potential damage from occurring like frozen pipes bursting and the high possibility of excessive water damage. The amount of money it takes to repair pipes bursting can range anywhere from 100-200$/per foot of piping with a total of 400-1500$ on average when all is said and done and this does not even include the repair for water damage. Water damage repair can add up to the thousands depending on the extent of damage and neither can go without immediate fixing. By winterizing your home you are protecting yourself from unnecessary bills that can potentially break your pocket book.
Reap The Benefits Of Your Crawl Space
Many homeowners don’t know how much their crawl space actually affects them. Due to the Stack Effect, air from your crawl space is pulled into your home causing you to breathe what’s underneath. Many studies have shown that on average, about 50% of the air in your home comes through the crawl space. This means that if your home has a crawl space, maintenance as well as winterizing is essential in keeping your home running efficiently. During the summer, homeowners will want to allow for air to breathe through the vents of their crawl space but in winterizing months they will want to place covers on the vents to keep cold air out.
The ventilation in the warmer summer months will keep moisture from building up and causing potential problems like mold and mildew as well as wood from rotting. As long as the crawl space is kept dry it can be sealed off for the winter so that the air that circulates down below is not only healthy but kept warm so the floors of your home are kept warm as well. By sealing off the vents homeowners are also adding a protective layer to guard against rodents and wildlife from finding their way into their crawlspace. These critters will start looking for warm places to nest so to ensure you don’t end up with invaders beneath your feet, covering the vents from your crawlspace is an added protective measure. One you will be thankful for since rodent infestations can cause a great amount of damage and can be extremely costly.
Did you know that rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter? When winterizing your home you’ll want to check for small cracks, any openings near the ground or foundation and make sure your vents are still in place as these will be prime locations for rodents to enter. Rodents, as well as other wildlife, will look for places to nest as the winter months approach. They will look for areas where they can go unseen and undisturbed making your crawl space the perfect spot to hide. Cutting back overhanging branches above your home will also help keep critters away as they will use these as pathways when looking to get inside your attic through openings in the roof. Even cracks in exposed piping are entry points rodents and small wildlife will look to get in through as their main objective is to find somewhere safe and warm for the winter. Doing what is needed to keep rodents from entering your home will not only prevent infestation from occurring but it will also ensure that your crawl space stays intact and more importantly, clean from any rodent or wildlife urine and feces that can spread harmful diseases. Taking the steps to winterize your home is a great preventative measure when you want to keep those rodents out!
The benefits of winterizing your home in the Pacific NW will far outweigh the work it takes to get the job done and the extra bonus is that when everything is taken care of, you can sit back and relax for the rest of winter.