While it may be tempting to deny another Midwest winter is on its way, now is the perfect time to prepare your home for its arrival. Taking measures now ensures you’re not stuck trying to catch up once the temperature plummets to that below freezing zone we all know a little too well. Here are three ways to prepare your home for winter’s impending arrival.
1. Prevent Drafts During the Winter
Surviving the dreary winter months is hard enough without having to worry about cold air leaking into your home. Drafts not only make your home colder but can also cause your energy bills to spike as your furnace has to work harder to keep your home warm. With that in mind, ensuring your home is properly insulated is essential.
One of the biggest culprits of drafts during the winter is your home’s windows. Air leaks occur when the window isn’t flush against the frame or there are cracks along the perimeter. Another cause of heat loss is insufficient insulation, which is a common problem with single-pane windows. In either case, the best way to fix the issue is to upgrade your home’s windows.
When choosing replacement windows, opt for double or triple-pane windows. Both options are fabricated with inert gases between the panes, which offers better insulation and prevents heat from escaping your home. In addition, look for windows that have an Energy STAR rating and Low-E coating. Vinyl windows are an affordable, energy-efficient option when replacing existing windows. If new windows aren’t in your budget just yet, there are a couple of quick fixes you can try.
- Use caulk to seal around the window frame or fill in any cracks.
- Make sure the window is closed all the way and locked.
- Cover the window with film from an insulator kit.
- Swap out lightweight drapes for heavier, thermal drapes to block the cold air.
Like windows, doors are a common source of drafts in the home. As the most used door in the house, it’s no surprise that your entry door will experience some wear and tear. Frequent use will cause the door to deteriorate over time, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. A draft may occur because there are gaps around the edges of the door, or the weather stripping has begun to fall apart. Fill any cracks or gaps around the door frame and replace the weather stripping or draft stopper at the bottom of the door as needed. If you continue to notice that cold air is coming into the home, it may be time to replace the door altogether.
The Garage Door
Many people forget about the garage door when it comes to preventing drafts. However, a garage door plays a crucial role in preventing heat loss. In addition to protecting the garage interior from harsh winter elements and reducing outside noise, the garage door also helps to better regulate the home’s temperature. New garage doors are often insulated while older doors are not. If your home has the latter, consider replacing it with a new insulated door. Not in the budget? Many home improvement stores sell a DIY garage door insulation kit.
2. Winterize Your Deck
To get your deck ready for winter, start by removing deck accessories or furniture from the surface. Then clear off any debris or fallen leaves which can damage traditional wood finishes. Next, wash the surface with mild soap and water and reseal the deck if needed. With your deck protected from winter elements, it will require much less maintenance come spring.
3. Inspect the Roof
There’s never a good time to deal with a leaking roof, but winter is probably the worst. While there are different causes of winter water damage, a common one is the formation of ice dams. Ice dams occur when snow melts and refreezes along the edge of the roof, forming a blockade or dam. This prevents the melted snow from draining properly and causes it to pool and eventually leak through the roof.
To reduce the risk of ice dams, inspect your roof and repair any damaged or loose shingles. Check the gutters and downspouts for damage, as well, and clear any clutter or debris that may cause a blockage. If you notice any damage or trouble spots that are beyond your ability to repair, be sure to hire a professional to get the job done.
Looking to replace drafty windows and doors in your home? Yanish Custom Exteriors can help! Contact our team for more information.