October 23, 2023
Should I Winterize My Home?
The winter season is upon us, and for many, it's the most wonderful time of the year. It's an opportunity to hit the slopes for some, while others relish indulging in delicious holiday comfort food. However, as the temperatures drop, it's essential to consider the impact on your home and utility bills. We often hear, "Should I winterize my home?" Our answer is a resounding yes. Whether you reside in one of our brand-new homes, an older house, or an apartment, there are ten simple yet effective tips to ensure your home stays cozy and your utility bill remains in check this winter.
Tip #1 - Clean Out Your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters is a crucial winterizing step. You'll want to eliminate any debris that may have accumulated, such as branches or acorns. Numerous companies can assist with this task if climbing a ladder is outside your comfort zone. Another DIY tip for maintaining your gutters is checking the areas around the downspouts to ensure they're free of rocks and debris. It's a straightforward task for any homeowner. Just locate your downspout and ensure it's clear of debris.
Tip #2 - Close Crawl Space Vents
For homes built on a crawlspace, it's essential to check for any outdoor vents that might have been left open during the summertime. Fortunately, this quick and straightforward task should only take a few minutes. To close these vents, follow these steps:
- Locate the outdoor vents around the perimeter of your home near ground level.
- Most crawl space vents have louvers or covers that can be easily opened or closed.
- Push or slide the louvers or covers into the closed position. You may need to use a latch or clip to secure them shut.
By closing these vents, you're helping to reduce the risk of pipes in the crawlspace from freezing during the drier winter months.
Tip #3 - Disconnect Hoses and Irrigation Systems
Remember to disconnect your garden hoses and sprinklers as part of your winterization routine. Store them away for the winter, and ensure your outdoor spouts or faucets are shut off completely. Disconnect the garden hose from the outdoor spout. In most cases, you can unscrew it by hand. If it's too tight, use a simple pair of pliers to help you loosen it. You can also check for a valve in your basement or crawlspace that controls the outdoor faucet. Turning this valve off is an extra precaution to ensure your outdoor faucets won't freeze.
For those with an irrigation system, turn it off for the winter and adequately winterize it. A professional best handles this task, as it can be a complex procedure. If you need clarification about who oversees your irrigation system, please contact your property management or HOA team for guidance.
Tip #4 - Check Windows and Doors for Cracks
Ensure all your windows and doors are closed properly and check for cracks. If all the windows and doors are locked, and you can feel air or see light, you need to adjust these. If you have purchased an HHHunt Homes home and it's under warranty, reach out to the warranty department. If you are living in an HHHunt Apartment, put in a service request, and we will take care of this for you!
Tip #5 - Open Sink Cabinet Doors
This tip is a classic but effective one. When the weather forecasts temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, open the cabinet doors to vanities and allow the faucet to run on fixtures along exterior walls. A slow drip of cold water works best. This simple measure helps prevent pipes from freezing. When temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it's essential to keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees to ensure your home stays warm enough to prevent potential damage to your plumbing and HVAC system.
Tip #6 - Change Your HVAC Filter
Did you know that most HVAC companies recommend changing your furnace's air filter every two to three months during winter? A clogged, dirty filter can reduce airflow and the efficiency of your furnace, potentially leading to higher utility bills. Fortunately, changing the filter is a straightforward process.
- Start by setting your thermostat to the "off" position, then locate your return grill, typically a large white grate.
- Fold out the tabs and dispose of the old filter – it's a good idea to have a trash bag ready since these filters can be pretty dirty and dusty.
- Install your new filter with the arrows pointing inward, and you're all set!
Depending on your home's size, you may have multiple returns. Additionally, it's advisable to have your furnace tuned up annually by a licensed HVAC contractor. If you're an HHHunt Apartment Living resident, you'll be pleased to know that filter changes are included in our community-wide preventive maintenance.
Tip #7 - Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
For those who use ceiling fans year-round, a simple adjustment is needed for the winter months. In winter, the ceiling fan direction should be set clockwise and run on low. Achieving this is easy: turn off the fan switch and flip the switch on the fan's side. This change in direction helps push cool air toward the ceiling, displacing the warm air that tends to collect near the ceiling and distributing it more evenly throughout your home.
Tip #8 - Winterize Your Tankless Hot Water Heater
Many of the homes built by HHHunt Homes include a tankless water heater. As the temperatures dip below freezing, it's crucial to take proactive steps to winterize your tankless water heater, and we will show you how. First, if your unit has heat tape, remember to plug it in. This simple action allows your faucets to operate efficiently without the risk of freezing. Another critical winter maintenance task is to drain your hot water heater annually. By doing this consistently, you not only ensure the longevity of your unit but also maintain the unit's warranty. To carry out this task correctly, it's advisable to enlist the services of a registered plumber or a certified tankless water heater service technician who can expertly manage this essential maintenance for you.
Tip #9 - Buy a Snow Shovel
Let's take a moment to discuss snow shovels. While you might be enjoying sunny weather today, picking up a snow shovel during your next trip to the local hardware store is a wise idea. Trust us; you'll appreciate having one when the white stuff starts piling up. We're not suggesting you break the bank on an expensive model, but it's worth investing in a sturdy one. Even if you reside in a low-maintenance home by HHHunt Homes or one of our HHHunt Apartment Living apartment homes, having a reliable snow shovel is a winter essential.
Tip #10 - Sand Your Concrete Sidewalks and Driveways
Taking proper care of your concrete sidewalks and driveways is crucial during winter. Avoid using deicers and salt treatments, as the chemicals in these products can harm the concrete's finish, leading to a deterioration in appearance and performance over time. Instead, consider using sand as a safer alternative to deicers. When dealing with snow, it's advisable to shovel it off first and then apply sand or kitty litter for traction and to prevent re-freezing. This approach helps maintain the integrity of your concrete surfaces.
We understand that your home is a significant investment whether you rent or own. Winterizing it can help maintain its condition for years and save you money on heating bills. These are just a few of the straightforward steps you can take to prepare for the winter season, and we hope you found this information helpful. At HHHunt, we believe it's how you live that matters.
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