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5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

October 14, 2013

Get your home prepped for winter

Winter is coming, and even in temperate San Diego, we have to prepare. The weather cools down, we experience storms and wet weather, the trees lose their leaves. We crank up the heat, break out the blankets and coats, and make hot tea a regular evening ritual.

Did you know your home needs some special attention during the colder months too? Winterizing your home is an important part of keeping it in good shape, and the best time to do it is now. See 5 home winterizing tips described below.

1. Clean your windows.

It’s not the most fun job, but washing your windows works two-fold to keep your home warm and comfortable for winter. First, cleaning the dust, dirt, and grime off your windows offers unobstructed light. More sunlight entering your home means more natural warmth and illumination. A good wash also gives you the opportunity to check for cracks in the glass, damaged caulking, and any other punctures in the window’s surrounding structure. Cracks and holes let in drafts and allow warm air to seep out of your home.

While some homeowners will hire professional window cleaners, you can do it yourself quite easily. Purchase a commercial window cleaner or make your own by mixing a quarter cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water. If you don’t have a soft cloth on hand, wipe your windows using newspaper, which is absorbent but won’t leave lint (wear gloves if you do this—the ink does bleed).

2. Get your furnace/heating system inspected.

Your heater is your main line of defense against the winter cold, so it’s a good idea to do the important maintenance now, while the weather’s still nice. Call an HVAC professional like Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating to take a look at your heater. A professional can oil the bearings, check the fan belt, remove any dust and debris—both of which can significantly decrease your heater’s efficiency—and make sure that everything is in working order.

One thing that you can do without professional help is checking and replacing the filter. A dirty filter prevents the heater from operating efficiently, forcing it to work harder and leading to a bigger dent in your wallet. You should replace the filter once a month for best results.

3. Insulate.

Insulation keeps the warmth in and the cold out, so make sure that all parts of your home are properly insulated. One of the most ignored parts of the home is the attic. As heat naturally rises, you need to make sure your attic has plenty of insulation. Otherwise, all that precious warmth will just rise up and out of your home. Experts recommend about a 12-inch depth of insulation in your attic. There are several different types of insulation to choose from, so contact HVAC experts like Bob Jenson if you need help selecting an insulation that works best for your budget.

If you live in the mountainous regions of San Diego like Pine Valley or Julian (but last winter we had freezing temperatures countywide), you should consider insulating your pipes as well. Frozen water will cause the pipes to burst, warp, or otherwise prevent them from delivering water to and from your home. Most hardware stores offer foam insulation tubes that are affordable and fairly easy to secure to your outdoor pipes.

4. Clean out your gutters.

Okay, San Diego sees maybe seven days of rain in the entire year, but you still have to be prepared. Even a small storm can cause water damage to your roof, walls, and foundation. Gutters are designed to move the moisture away from your home to prevent leaks and damage, but that’s assuming they’re not clogged up with dead leaves and dirt.

Scoop out any debris in your gutters then flush them out with a spray from your garden hose. Patch up any cracks and repair other damages. Your gutters should fit snug against your home, not hanging loose and crooked.

5. Reverse your ceiling fan.

Turning on your ceiling fan is probably the farthest thing from your mind when you’re shivering under a blanket. Hark! Your ceiling fan is actually more helpful than you think. See, most ceiling fans have a reverse function that allows the blades to move clockwise. As mentioned earlier, heat naturally rises, so it tends to hover closer to the ceiling than down at the carpet. The reverse motion of the fans forces the warm air around your ceiling back down while drawing the cold air up and away. The constant movement also keeps the air from feeling stagnant.

Make sure you and your home stay warm and cozy this winter with these tips and you won’t have to worry about winter utility bills that are harsher than Jack Frost.

About The Author

Bob Jenson

For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.

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