Guest post by Bret Engle
There’s something charming about getting ready for winter. As you unbox sweaters and stack firewood, don’t forget to make sure your house is ready for the season too. While some winterization tasks can be done DIY, others are above the average homeowner’s paygrade. Here are four projects on your to-do list that you should rely on professionals for:
1. Install energy-efficient windows
Inefficient single-pane windows could be spiking your winter energy bills. Replacing them with double-pane windows is a big project, but it pays for itself over time in reduced heating and cooling costs and increased home value. In addition to opting for double-pane, consider how the windows operate. According to the Department of Energy, awning, hopper, and casement windows are more airtight than sliding models.
2. Inspect the roof
Between freeze-thaw cycles and heavy snow loads, winter is the hardest season on your roof. Make sure it’s up for the challenge by scheduling a roof inspection each fall. A professional will assess the condition of your roof based on interior and exterior factors. They’ll check for roof sagging, damaged and broken shingles, corroded flashing, and signs of moisture accumulation on the roof, as well as signs of water damage on interior ceilings. It’s best to fix these problems as they arise rather than waiting and needing to replace the entire roof. In Franklin, OH, most homeowners can expect to spend between $6,000 and $8,053 on a new roof, which can make a dent in anyone’s budget.
3. Clean the gutters
Sure, you could clean the gutters by yourself. But who wants to spend a day perched on a ladder, digging in the muck? Not to mention, cleaning gutters is one of the more dangerous jobs around the house: According to the CDC, 43 percent of all fatal falls involve a ladder. Hiring someone to clean your gutters costs, on average, less than $200, and the small expense is worth saving yourself the trouble.
4. Maintain the furnace
Fall furnace maintenance should be a part of every homeowner’s annual schedule. Not only do furnace inspections reduce the odds that you’ll end up heat-less in the middle of winter, it also protects your family from a potentially fatal carbon monoxide leak. During an inspection, an HVAC technician will test the furnace’s thermometer calibration, lubricate its motor, and ensure all parts are unobstructed and in good working condition.
While some home winterization jobs are best left to professionals, other tasks homeowners can do themselves to save money and hone their handyman skills.
- Reverse ceiling fans: Many people don’t realize it, but most ceiling fans have two settings: one for summer and one for winter. Flipping the switch on ceiling fans will cause the blades to push warm air downward for winter to keep your house warmer.
- Replace the furnace filter: A dirty air filter causes your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to, resulting in higher energy bills and a less comfortable home. Throw away your old furnace filter and replace it with a clean filter of the same size before turning the heat on.
- Seal drafts around doors and windows: Worn-out weatherstripping and cracked caulk give cold air entry points into your home. Check doors and windows for drafts and seal air leaks as needed.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Fall prep is a good time to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working condition.
- Gather snow supplies: Don’t find yourself in a snowstorm without a shovel in sight. Go shopping for shovels, snow melt, ice scrapers, warm clothing, and any other necessary winter supplies before bad weather hits.
- Prepare an emergency kit: Sometimes, there’s no shoveling your way out of bad weather. Make sure you’re prepared for getting snowed in by buying non-perishable foods, bottled water, batteries and flashlights, and firewood. If you don’t have a fireplace, consider purchasing a kerosene space heater for backup heat.
There’s a lot to accomplish before winter arrives. Hiring professionals for the big jobs helps homeowners get everything done in time so they can enjoy the winter season in comfort.
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