Winter is Coming: 5 Home Upgrades to Prepare You
Spring and summer are the most common seasons for home upgrades and renovations, but there are a few things you should do in the fall to prepare for the cold winter. These are upgrades that may be minor in some cases, but they will have significant impacts on your ability to stay warm and protected throughout the winter. Additionally, these upgrades can help you save on energy consumption throughout the coldest months of the year.
Service Your Heating System
One of the first things you should do is to service your heater with a professional HVAC inspection. This will help you ensure every component of your heating system is running as efficiently as possible. The technician will also evaluate the condition of your system to determine how it will function throughout the winter. For instance, an older system may not last through the winter. In that case, your HVAC technician can provide a new furnace installation. It’s better to replace your existing furnace early to help you avoid the frequent breakdowns you would otherwise experience throughout the winter. According to Climate Works, a company that specializes in new furnace installations in Ottawa, “installation of new furnaces can also help contribute towards planet conservation as they utilize a lesser amount of energy.”
Inspect Your Roof
There are several upgrades and improvements you should make to prepare the exterior of your home for winter. This should start with a comprehensive roof inspection. If there are signs that your roof is damaged, the autumn months are the best time to either repair or replace your roof. A roofing contractor will know how to identify shingles, rafters, and flashing on your roof that are damaged or too old to endure a harsh winter. They may also recommend replacing an old gutter system that won’t function well under heavy rain and snowfall. Many homeowners are switching to copper gutters because that is a more durable metal.
Seal Your Window and Door Frames
A minor home upgrade that can produce significant savings in the coming months is to seal up crevices and gaps around your doors and windows. One of the best ways to identify areas where treated air is leaking is by using a thermal camera to identify temperature changes. If you don’t have a thermal camera, you can simply run your hand along the frames to feel for changes in temperature. When you find a gap, fill it in with caulk. You should also replace the weather stripping around your doors and windows to eliminate other potential drafts.
Drain Hoses and Sprinkler Systems
This is also the time of year to protect your home’s plumbing by clearing out the lines that will be left unused throughout the winter. Start by disconnecting any exterior water hoses connected to nozzles on the outside of your home. Be sure to empty the hoses before wrapping them up to be stored. Additionally, you should turn off the water to your sprinkler system and allow the system to run out any water remaining in the lines. As for your interior pipes, insulting pipes in your basement will protect them from freezing temperatures. You should also wrap pipes on the exterior of your home as well. Keep cabinet doors opened slightly to allow heat to keep your indoor pipes warm.
Check Your Insulation
Another project you can take before winter is to check on the insulation in your attic. If you had a hard time keeping your home warm last year, the problem may have been insufficient insulation in the attic. While insulation will generally last for 80 years or more, fiberglass insulation starts to degrade after 15 years. Adding an extra layer can protect against that degradation and offer extra protection when high winds and colder temperatures are common.
While you may be able to complete some of these upgrades on your own, you should know when to ask for help. Relying on roofers, HVAC technicians, and other professionals will help you get professional quality results when you need them. While paying contractors add to your upfront costs, the savings those upgrades will generate will be well worth the initial investment.