Weatherproofing is a necessary part of life. After all, you need a winter wardrobe. When you get right down to it, your house isn’t all that different. Your home needs a winter wardrobe of its own—certain things to help it through the cold, harsh months. Autumn is the ideal time to take on projects like this. What are the highest priorities at this time of year, when you are sending the kids back to school and starting to think about the holidays? Certain things will bring more value than others. Focus on the biggest bang for your buck.
Is Winterizing Your Connecticut Home Important?
Is it really important to winterize a home in Connecticut? If you enjoy less maintenance in the spring and a warmer home in the winter, the answer is yes. Your home needs to be nice and warm and cozy – and energy efficient – to make the long, cold winter easier, and even enjoyable, for you and your family.
Winterizing Saves You Money
Either replacing or putting in new windows can save you 15% on your utility bills. Once it’s the dead of winter, however, it’s too late and too cold to install new windows. So, think about winterizing your home in the Fall. Consider having storm windows installed before it becomes chilly. These extra-duty windows go a long way towards keeping out the chill and wetness, while also holding in warmth. This adds up to significant savings on your winter heating bills.
Preventative Home Maintenance
Remember that household problems which look small to you when you’re sipping Mai Tais on the beach can loom very large – and devastatingly - once winter sets in. For instance, one loose piece of siding may not seem like a big deal now, but a raging winter storm can tear that one piece off, along with huge sections of your siding, which then allows rain in, possibly ruining your roof. Costly? You bet! That’s why it pays, literally, to go over your home with a critical eye and correct things while the weather is still mild. Contact a professional contractor if your siding needs expert work.
Winterizing Water Sources
Keep in mind that water is the biggest cause of damage to a house and, in the winter, any leaking moisture can lead to freezing, which then expands and can cause foundations to crack and driveways to crumble. But don’t despair, your problem – if it is done before winter weather hits – can be fixed by caulking or a quick coat of paint.
Take the time to inspect the exterior of your house for any crevice cracks or any exposed entry points around the pipes. Make sure you seal these.
Do You Need a Contractor to Properly Winterize Your Connecticut Home?
Winterizing your house is important—most people know this. But if you hire a professional for everything, it can also be expensive. Is it necessary to hire someone?
The answer: yes and no. Some winterizing tasks are possible and sensible to do yourself in a single weekend. For other tasks, it’s absolutely necessary to hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. In this section we give you the rundown of the crucial things that you can do, and what you’re better off paying someone else to do. For safety, and surprisingly, also for cost.
How to Winterize Your Connecticut Home Yourself
Here are some tips to get your home ready for the thrills and chills of winter—and actually come out ahead on your heating bills:
1. Lower your water heater temperature
Consider lowering the temperature of your water heater from the usual 140 degrees to around 120 degrees.
2. Clean the Gutters
Check to make sure that your gutters are securely fastened to the roof with no looseness. Check around for cracks, rot, holes or exposed water pipes. If you find anything of concern, call a professional—drainage is a serious issue, not something to be handled by the casual weekend do-it-yourselfer.
3. Seal up the Woodwork
This includes windows, doors, patios and thresholds. Sealing up these areas is crucial to keep away dry rot, leakage and moisture from damaging the woodwork around your home. It also serves the function of reducing draftiness during winter, saving you on heating bills and keeping holes plugged to keep out potential pests or rodents that may try to take up shelter in your home during the winter.
4. Trimming Trees
We’re not just talking about the Christmas tree here; the trees outside can become unruly and cause hazards over the winter when ice collects on them. Branches become very heavy with snow, ice and debris, and can crack and fall onto your roof, car, windows or driveway. Or even onto Grandma.
5. Stock the Pantry for Emergencies
You probably remember the most recent ice or snow storm that made you lose power. It’s going to happen again at some point this winter, and having water and pantry items on hand will save you from being tempted to drive through dangerous conditions to go to a probably closed grocery store for the essentials. Stay away from freezer items in case you lose power—you may even consider buying the dreaded powdered milk.
6. Change the batteries in detectors.
During winter, home fires increase when people crank up the heating. The same goes for carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your home is protected with warning signals with fresh batteries in each. This also protects you from the batteries going bad on Christmas Eve, and having to go out into the hallway to change the batteries with a house full of guests.
What to Hire Someone For When Winterizing Your Home
1. Inspections of the HVAC
Ask a professional to inspect the furnace, heating ducts and generally the entire system. Up to 60 percent of heated air can escape from the ducts before even getting to the vents that go into your house, so getting this fixed up is a huge money saver. During an inspection, the professional will likely clean out and replace the air filters, ensure proper operation of blowers, clean out motors and fans, double-check the gas pipes leading to the furnace and double-check for carbon monoxide.
2. Sealing up Drafts and Air Leaks
The Department of Energy reports that drafts can waste up to 30 percent of your energy use. You can perform checks for drafts and air leaks, but this is something better left to a professional. Otherwise, you’re stuck using rolled-up towels underneath doorways and caulking all of the windows yourself.
3. Have your Chimney Inspected
Call a certified chimney sweep to do this—yes, these are real people, not only characters from Charles Dickens stories. A certified professional will make sure your flue is in good shape and take care of any flammable items or obstructions inside your chimney.
4. Insulating your Pipes
Call a professional to have your pipes wrapped in foam, which will insulate them from the cold just like wearing a coat does for people. A professional will know the length, amount of foam, and type to use for your pipes. The process will keep your pipes from freezing, and help hot water stay hotter, so you will use less energy over the winter heating water in your home.
5. Add Insulation
Boost insulation in three essential areas in the home—between the walls, your attic floor and basement ceiling. If you’re unsure about proper insulation levels in your home, many professional contractors will visit your home for no cost and provide a quote on properly insulating your home.
6. Install Storm Doors and Windows
When the cold, wintry winds start to blow, you’ll be glad you took these measures, which can save on your energy costs by up to 45%.
7. Reinforce or Redo the Roof
Your roof takes a lot of abuse. From rain, snow and sun, everything hits the roof first. And we won’t even mention the wind.