Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

How to Prepare Your Home For Winter in DC?

The fall season is a good time to start thinking about getting one’s home ready for the cold weather. It is a bittersweet reminder that winter is soon approaching. The winter months bring in harsh and colder weather leading to a higher energy load at home. Preparing ahead of time for winter can save a homeowner from the trouble of dealing with snow dangers. Here are a few key points to consider while getting a home ready for the winter.

  • Insulate Pipes:

Any exposed pipe that runs along a wall or that is in an unheated area is a potential hazard. This can include pipes in the basement or in any other area of the house. The water inside can freeze causing the pipe to burst when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Poor insulation can cause more heat loss raising winter bills dramatically.

To keep the hot air inside, homeowners must have at least six inches of good thermal insulation in the ceiling with heat ducts properly insulated.  

  • Clean Out Gutters:

Once the leaves are off the trees, homeowners must check the gutters. When gutters back up, they overflow damaging the roof and sidings leading to a deterioration of the home’s exterior. It is essential to clear gutters of the debris before winter sets in.

  • Drain Sprinklers:

For homeowners that have an outdoor sprinkler system, it is a smart move to remove any residual water before the first freeze to ensure that it doesn’t expand and crack the pipes. The best way of doing so is to hire an irrigation contractor who will blow out the water using compressed air. The process comprises shutting off the water source and opening the drain valves located at the lowest part of the irrigation system to allow the water to drain. 

  • Fireplace and Chimney:

A good practice to follow annually is to have the chimney cleaned and swept. A wood-burning fireplace should be professionally inspected and cleaned to avoid ignition of built-up creosote and soot. If the homeowner does not use the fireplace or has a gas one, an inspection every three years suffices. At the beginning of winter, it is wise to hire an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) contractor to ensure that the furnace or boiler operates as expected. 

In order to keep the appliance running well, it is recommended to inspect the filter monthly, replacing it when it turns brown or black. 

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