It’s no secret…Maryland’s winters can be brutal. Freezing temperatures and heavy snow keep a lot of us inside wrapped in blankets and sipping hot chocolate. But, while we’re comfy inside, our home and exterior property have to endure the harsh weather. Here are seven steps you can take to winterize your property and prepare it for the coming cold!
Fix Gaps in Doors & Windows
Keep the warmth in and the cold OUT. Check all your doors and windows for any gaps that could let the winter air seep in. To fill cracks and gaps, you could use caulk or weatherstripping of your choice.
Another way to add more insulation to your home is to apply a window film. Window film has two benefits – it keeps the heat in during the winter and keeps the cool air in during the summer.
Check the Heating System
Another important step to winterizing your home is making sure the heating system is working properly. We suggest three primary steps:
- Test the furnace before winter to make sure it’s functioning. Before it gets cold, turn on the heater to ensure warm air flows out freely. You wouldn’t want to wait until temps drop to find that your furnace isn’t working!
- Replace the filter of your furnace so air can flow easily and so you have fresh, clean air in your home
- Ensure the fuel supply is adequate
- Clean the vents and remove any dirt and dust for free air flow
Protect Your Water Lines
It’s vital that you insulate and protect all exposed water lines that are in the attic or crawl spaces. To prevent water pipes from freezing, expanding, and bursting, and to avoid the costly repair bills that follow, use electrical heating tape and fiberglass pipe line, such as the Frost King fiberglass pipe wrap. Be careful not to wrap the pipes too tight.
Some things to remember when insulting your water pipes:
- Always wear safety glasses and a mask when working with fiberglass
- Wear long sleeves to protect your skin from contact with the fiberglass
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Save money this winter! Get a programmable thermostat to control the temperature in your home and avoid wasting energy during times when you don’t need the heat blowing. Statistics reveal that for every eight hours you lower the temperature setting on your thermostat, you can save one percent on your energy bill! So, if you’re out of the house all day, lower the temperature setting and watch your energy bill decline.
Check Those Gutters!
Now it’s time for exterior home preparation! Yes, that means gutter cleaning. We know, it’s not the most appealing job; however, it’s absolutely vital in preparation for Maryland’s harsh winters.
While it may not seem like a big deal, clogged gutters can create ice dams in the winter and can break under the heavy weight. If water and snow has nowhere to go, the freezing temps will cause ice to pack in the gutters and sit there. This also creates a dangerous slipping hazard if you have walkways underneath your gutters as the freezing water drips from the ice above.
We suggest you clear out your gutters and downspouts during late autumn after most leaves have fallen. If you would prefer to hire a professional to get this job done for you, consider hiring a certified pressure washing company in the local area. Once they are done flushing out your gutters and downspouts using pro-grade equipment, they will also install gutter guards for you to prevent more leaves and debris from falling into them.
Give Your Home a Good Cleaning
In addition to cleaning your gutters and downspouts, it’s important to clean your driveways! Over time, driveways accumulate oil and grime from constant vehicle traffic. This can produce a slippery surface when wet, especially with the snow! The last thing you want is to be sliding down your driveway…(how embarrassing) so hire a professional power washing contractor to blast away all the contaminants sitting on the pavement.
You should also consider inspecting your roof and replacing any loose or damaged shingles. After, you can have a professional soft wash your roof using eco-friendly solvents that leave the surface sparking clean and damage free.
And don’t forget about your deck and patio! Pressure washing your deck before the snow comes prepares the surface for the cold and moisture. After washing it, apply a fresh coat of sealant to act as a thin jacket that shields your patio from the harsh elements.
Considering building a custom home? Learn more about the difference between a stick-built and modular home design!
New Life Builders would be happy to discuss the benefits of the two home designs and help get you started with your home construction project!