Last year’s winter season will be remembered for bringing record-breaking snowfall to much of the country, with cities including Detroit and Chicago having some of their snowiest months on record. Parts of America were unprepared for the heavy storms, such as Georgia, where winter storms caused an estimated $25 million in damages.
Homes not prepared for such heavy snow can see damage ranging from burst pipes to a collapsed roof. Fixing these damages could be expensive, so prepping your house for the colder months in autumn is a smart approach. By following these tips on winterizing your home, you can help avoid costly repairs this winter season.
1. Fortify your roof to prevent ice dams
Ice dams, which occur when water builds up behind an ice blockage, can cause damage to ceilings and roofs by allowing melting snow to leak into a home. To prevent ice dams from forming, you need to keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. Take this time to increase ventilation, add insulation, and seal off possible air leaks to be ice dam free.
2. Insulate pipes
When water pipes freeze and burst, they can cause water damage. Avoid flooding and a messy cleanup by insulating your water pipes with materials such as heating tape and fiberglass.
3. Seal air leaks
By preventing cold air from leaking into your home, you can save money on your energy bills and also make your home warmer. To reduce air leakage, place a sweep at the base of your door and apply caulk or weather-stripping around drafty windows.
4. Seal the attic
Sealing the attic is a great way to avoid heat loss through your roof in future winters. Make sure your attic insulation is 12 inches deep. If you’re going to install a new layer of insulation over an existing one, avoid using kraft-faced insulation, which can lead to moisture problems.
5. Weather-strip the doors and windows
Melting snow can lead to mold and mildew problems around your windows and doors. Seal up any gaps with weather-stripping seals or caulking to prevent moisture from getting in.
6. Inspect the furnace and chimney
Make sure your furnace and chimney are in working order before the cold weather hits. Both should be cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional each year to ensure safe and efficient use.
7. Prune your trees
Snow and ice buildup on trees can cause branches to break and land on your house. If a tree is close to your home, prune its branches and cut down any low-hanging limbs before the start of the winter.
8. Install wind-proofing materials
Strong winds can cause substantial damage to your property. To help avoid wind damage this winter, install wind-proofing features such as permanent window shutters and impact-resistant shingles.