Winter Preparation Tips – Part 2
A lot can go wrong with your home in the winter. Not to mention, utility costs for heat can be very high. The more you prepare, the more you can enjoy the cold weather and in turn, the more money you can potentially save. From getting your chimney & fireplace ready for the cold & snow, and taking preventative measures for ice & water damage, the following are additional tips that can help you get your household ready for winter.
While a heavy accumulation of snow may not be expected in Atlanta, it’s still important to check your roof. Be sure the roof is structurally sound. Replace any shingles that are damaged, missing, or loose. One area of the roof in particular that often needs attention is the flashing around the chimney. If the flashing isn’t secure, the result can be a leaky roof and many damaged roof and attic components.
Seal Windows and Doors
If you take steps to cut energy costs for winter, your utility bill will make you glad you did. A great way to cut energy costs in winter is to keep cold air out and warm air in. About 10% of the air that leaks from a home escapes through windows, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Apply fresh caulk, as needed, around window frames as well as door frames. For even better weatherizing, install storm windows. The easiest way to judge whether or not the weather stripping around your door is sufficient is to check whether any daylight can be seen when the door is closed.
Prevent Ice Dams and Icicles
Icicles and ice dams are caused by a difference in temperature between the eaves and the roof created by air escaping the home. Ice dams can be trouble because they can cause a backup of melt water in your home. Seal up your home, perhaps with additional attic insulation, to prevent icicles and ice dams.
Don’t forget to tend to your rain gutters before winter rolls around. Remove fall leaves and repair damage to the rain gutters. As needed, tighten the fit of the rain gutters against your home.
Protect Plumbing Pipes
When temperatures dip below freezing, one of the first considerations is that plumbing pipes need to be insulated, to avoid possible bursting. An easy way to protect pipes is to install handy foam tubes. Some of the foam tubes that are complete with a slit on one side are self-adhesive; for those that aren’t, simply secure the foam with duct tape.
Reverse your Ceiling Fans
Change the direction of your ceiling fan blades so that they push warm air down to where it provides warmth and can help you lower your utility bill.
Insulate Switch Plates
About 2% of the air leaking from most homes escapes through switch plates and electrical outlets. It is easy and inexpensive to insulate plates and outlets.
Plug Hidden Gaps
Other gaps in your home that allow winter air to enter your home include spaces around vents, pipes, floors, ceilings, and electrical conduits in the walls. Seal the gaps with insulating foam sealant or with caulk, for smaller gaps.
Add Additional Insulation
At least 12 inches of insulation should line your attic. Because insulation settles over time, check to see if an additional layer is needed. If you add the 12” minimum, your energy costs should definitely be lower in the long run.
Give us a call if you need help with an annual chimney inspection and cleaning, an important step in winter preparations mentioned in the first part of this series. We’ll be glad to help you get ready for winter.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004