As cold weather approaches, it is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home throughout the chilly months. Most home winterization can be done relatively inexpensively and without professional help. The following steps can help you save money on energy bills and avoid the cost of big-ticket repairs.
Prepare the outside.
Leaf build-up can lead to major damage to the structure and foundation of your home. As ice melts, debris can reroute water over the edge of the gutters and into the siding and foundation of your home. Avoid build up by cleaning out your gutters mid-fall and be sure to double-check them before winter. Gutter guards can also to help keep gutters clear and are usually available for purchase at your local hardware store.
Disconnect all garden hoses that are attached to the house, drain them, and store them away. Shut off the valves and insulate the faucet. Additionally – if you have a sprinkler system, it is important to have the water blown out of them before the winter freeze-up. If you own an air compressor you can do it yourself and save on the service fee.
Before the temperatures drop, make sure your snow blower is in working order. Ensure it has proper gas, the engine oil is good to go, and air up the tires if needed. It is also important to consider the safety of the people using your sidewalks. Be ready with salt for traction and an extra snow shovel.
Protect pipes from freezing.
If not insulated, frozen pipes can rupture and lead to costly repairs come spring. Whether outside, or in cold basements or unheated crawlspaces, take the time to identify pipes that may be vulnerable. Protect these susceptible pipes by wrapping them with pipe insulation.
If you’re heading south for the winter, make sure to shut the water completely off and consider having the plumbing system drained. It’s good to have a friend or neighbor check on your home regularly to look for any issues. If a problem is detected, you will be able to act quickly to minimize potential damage to your property.
Seal the cracks.
Save money on your heating and keep your home energy efficient by examining doors and windows for gaps where warm air can escape. Apply weather stripping or caulk around any openings to help prevent cold air from seeping in. If you own an older home, you might also consider installing window insulation film for additional heat loss protection and savings on your energy bill.
Get the heating system checked.
Servicing your furnace and chimney once a year can help save on energy costs while preventing house fires. Dust and debris accumulation on your furnace’s air filter, restricts airflow and can force your furnace to work harder to maintain the same temperatures. This can lead to heightened energy costs while presenting a fire hazard. With many families also using wood fires to heat their home, it is also critically important to ensure your Chimney is adequately maintained. A professional can look for any obstructions or exposed walls that could cause a fire.
Take the necessary precautions to prepare for winter and avoid having to scramble at the last minute.
Winterizing your home is a great way to reduce the toll of unforgiving Michigan winters, but inevitably, things can happen. To avoid being on the hook for expensive repairs, ensure your home insurance covers damages due to extreme winter weather. If you’re not sure or want to increase your coverage? Speak with a Michigan First Insurance Agency Representative today.