Winter can take quite a toll on a home that’s ill prepared. Snowstorms can batter old roofs, make clogged gutters leak, and strip away poorly installed siding. Luckily, there are things you can do in fall to improve your chances of a safe, cozy winter. If you followed the steps in Part 1 of this post, you’ve already prepared your roof, gutters, and siding. Now it’s time to tackle the rest of your home’s exterior.
Check Weather Stripping
Cold drafts are the last things you and your family want to deal with during the worst of winter. One of the easiest ways to eliminate drafts, prevent water leaks, and maximize the energy efficiency this fall and winter is to check your weather stripping. Check all windows, doors, and skylights for weather stripping that’s damaged or missing. Replace old, cracked weather stripping for the best results. Check for cold air drafts from other sources with help from a professional.
Replace Old Windows
How old are your home’s windows? Older windows can have thin glass and cracks that let in cold air. They may also rattle in their frames during high wind and storms, increasing the risk of breakage. Replacing old, outdated windows can do wonders for your energy bills and interior home comfort. Beautiful new windows can give you clear views of the outside and natural light without letting in cold air. New windows will also increase the value and security of your home.
Install Storm Windows
Northern Virginia can see some serious snow and hail storms in the cold winter months. Prepare your home for storms by opting for storm windows instead of removable screens. Storm windows or storm window inserts protect your glass from debris, hail, and other damage. They will keep you more comfortable and lend peace of mind during bad weather. Invest in this safety feature in fall to be ready for winter storms.
Make sure your furnace, space heaters, and water heater are running without issue. Hire a professional contractor to inspect these appliances. Issues with your heating system can easily result in a home disaster like a fire or carbon monoxide leak. Check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing batteries if needed. You may need to bleed your radiators, drain an expansion tank, and carry out other tasks to prepare for winter as well.
Optimize Your Doors
Last but certainly not least, consider upgrading your home’s doors before winter. Older doors can let in significant drafts, increasing your energy bills. Install a stronger new entry door for increased safety. A new door with a high-quality lock can also make you feel more secure from intruders during the holidays. Storm doors are an excellent option in this region, as they will protect your regular door from the elements during snow, sleet, rain, or wind.
Keep the number of trusted local contractor handy during the fall and winter months in case of maintenance emergencies.