(NC) Cold temperatures, snow and ice may be the ideal ingredients for a winter wonderland, but winter’s harsh conditions can also wreak havoc on your home. A little preventative maintenance can help lower your energy bills, avoid more costly repairs and/or increase the lifespan of your home. Addressing the following priority items will make the greatest impact:
- Insulation. One of the easiest and most effective defences against heat loss is proper insulation. Prevent cold drafts from entering and the loss of heated air through basement headers, which, when left exposed, can make your furnace work harder. Look for a moisture-resistant product with high thermal performance. For this, retailers tell us that Roxul Comfortbatt stone wool insulation is a top seller. It makes installation simple––all that’s needed is a serrated blade or bread knife. Cut the batt to fit the cavity and press into place. The insulation will help improve energy efficiency as soon as it’s in place and provide savings over the lifetime of your home. Comfortbatt can also be used to top or replace old attic insulation. Aim for an R-value of 50 or a depth of 16 inches (41 cm).
Roof and Gutters. To prevent a future leak, inspect your roof for shingles that are warped, damaged, or missing. Use roofing cement and a caulking gun to seal joints where water could penetrate around the chimney, skylights, or vents. Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and securely fastened. Downspouts should extend at least five feet away from the home to prevent flooding.
Heating and ventilation. Examine your fireplace and chimney system to ensure that no soot or creosote has collected. Any cracks or voids present could potentially cause a fire. Before you turn the furnace on, replace the air filter and hire a professional to inspect the unit more thoroughly. These steps will improve the efficiency and life of your furnace and will ensure stable indoor air quality.
Windows and doors. These can be a major culprit for heat loss, if not properly sealed. To keep the warm air inside, examine and replace worn weather-stripping. Inspect structural framing. Caulk inside and out, if necessary.
Yard care. Trim overgrown trees and shrubs. Drain and shut off any exterior faucets and sprinkler systems to prevent freezing. Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems.