No doubt about it, winter is upon us and the freezing temperatures, frigid wind, ice and snow common to our region make it a challenge to keep warm. Winterizing your home in Elgin, St. Charles, Schaumburg and the Northwest Suburbs isn’t just about staying warm, however. It’s also about ensuring the safety of your home.
A fully winterized house is not only safe from invading pests, burst pipes, failing furnaces, and other unexpected and unwelcome surprises. In addition, a properly winterized home will consume less energy. Even if you skipped these steps in the fall, it’s never too late to protect your home from the chills of winter, so get on it now.
Many of the home winterizing tips listed below are fully qualified for do-it-yourselfers (DIY), but others require the aid of a certified infrared home inspector:
Clear the gutters and roof – clearing the roof of dirt, silt, leaves and other debris means less snow accumulation which can stress the roof. A simple shovel or broom makes short work of the job as long as the roof can safely support your weight. Gutters can be cleared using just a long ladder and gloves. Check that the downspouts are clear and in good repair.
Change the furnace filter and have the furnace inspected – every furnace is different, so you may need to change the filters more often than you think (sometimes monthly). A reliable heating professional can evaluate your furnace and determine if it is operating safely and efficiently.
Inspect the fireplace and chimney – while you are one the roof, look for obstructions blocking the chimney – things like birds nests and leaves piled up can be big fire hazards. The chimney should be cleaned every year to remove creosote buildup and make sure it is working properly.
Inspect your heating ductwork – in some cases, this can be partially accomplished by crawling under the house and ensuring that the ducts are properly connected, sealed, and even wrapped. An infrared home inspection can reveal duct problems where you can’t reach – inside the floors, for example.
Prepare your windows and doors – gaps around the window and door frames can cause significant heat loss inside your home and create uncomfortable drafts. Replacing weather stripping under the entry doors, caulking windows, and other DIY cures can help, but if you need help identifying where your home is losing energy nothing beats an infrared inspection. It will show you where your home is leaking and you can fix the problem. An infrared home inspection can even reveal missing insulation!
Be sure to have a winter weather survival kit on hand for your family too. Winter weather can be unpredictable and if your home loses power you could be in trouble. Have plenty of blankets and sleeping bags, keep your cell phone well charged, and have a supply of non-perishable food on hand in case you get hungry while the power is off.
Andrew MacDonald provides high quality infrared home inspections for homeowners and their families in Algonquin, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, and the Northwest Suburbs. Give him a call today at 847-431-8800 to schedule your infrared inspection today.