During this past year, some areas in Utah were hit with more snow than they knew what to do with. For local skiers and snowboarders, this was great news, but for some homeowners it was a nightmare. Cache Valley was nearly thrown into a state of emergency with all of the snow that was falling and then melting in short order. This past year’s weather should serve as a reminder for most people of the importance of preparing your house for the winter. We’ve got a few months of sun before this advice will become absolutely necessary, but we at J Thomas believe that it’s always better to plan ahead.
Most people know they need to have their sprinkler system pumped and that they need to bring their hoses inside when temperatures start to drop, but here are some often overlooked chores that need to be finished before next winter.
Check Your Heating System
People generally think about their heating system as much in the summer as they do about their air conditioner in the winter, but failing to properly maintain your heating system can be both dangerous and can cost you extra money in the long run.
One oft-forgotten chore is having your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. If there is blockage in your chimney, not only is the heat not being distributed correctly, but harmful chemicals could work their way back into your home. Similarly, any heat ducts in your system should be regularly vacuumed so that your family isn’t breathing in old, accumulated dust. Furnaces also occasionally have filters that need cleaned or replaced, so make sure to check yours.
Make Sure to Insulate
This is perhaps the broadest piece of advice we have today and it requires the most work from you in finding the areas of your house that need improvement. One great place to start your search is with windows, doors, or any pipes that pierce the exterior wall. If the weather stripping around these features has worn down or been removed, they can be a source of cold drafts in the winter. Taking the time to find them and adequately insulate them in the warm months will certainly pay off in your heating bills this winter.
In addition to drafts, it can be helpful to insulate any pipes that you have problems with in the winter. At-risk pipes can be padded with common insulation or protected with heat tape. Heat tape, while not technically insulation, can be wrapped around pipes in the winter to regulate their temperature and keep them from freezing and bursting.
Plan to Beat the Snow
In Utah, snow is a reality of winter and It’s best to plan ahead to beat it. There are plenty of methods to get your car out of the driveway, but if you’re tired of shoveling piles of snow, you need to be ready to try something else. Salt can be helpful, but can also damage some types of concrete. If you want to salt to remove the snow, it is a good idea to seal the driveway with siloxane to make sure the salt doesn’t draw moisture into the concrete and begin eroding your driveway.
A third option that requires less work than shoveling snow or sealing your driveway is using sand. Sand won’t melt the snow or ice, but will provide traction to pull your cars in and out of the house. There are plenty of methods to beat the snow, which is why it’s important to plan ahead.
Winter-proofing a house is a big job, but starting now can give you a leg up and can allow you to get to all of the numerous jobs that you’re faced with every fall.