As we move further into this beautiful fall season, the nights get colder and the days shorter. All the signs are clear, you don’t need to be a Game of Thrones fan to know that “winter is coming…”
We love NEPA, but here at Nauman Contracting we are also aware of how quickly the weather can change and how rough the cold seasons can be on our homes. Fall home preparation can make all the difference between comfy nights snuggled under blankets with a cup of cocoa, and a chilled, drafty home with a leaky roof. Your home is a shelter that keeps you warm and safe, but it needs your help to keep the elements at bay. With 46 days until winter officially begins, time is running out to “batten down the hatches.” That is why we’ve provided some helpful hints for a healthy winterized home.
Most of the tasks listed below are well with-in the average person’s ability. Even if you are uncomfortable trying them on your own, hiring a professional to keep your home safe and energy efficient is well worth the expense.
- Review Your Roof
Inspect your roof inside and out. If you do this on your own keep safety in mind and observe from the ground with binoculars, or harnessed in with an extension ladder (follow this link for more tips on ladder safety http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,20258086-2,00.html) If you discover that your roof is compromised, call Nauman Contracting’s emergency roof team for a quote or consultation.
What to look for:
- Cracked, warped, or missing shingles and tiles
- Loose seams
- Deteriorated flashing around chimneys
- Excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts
- Closely examine all trees growing close to your home, as the branches can scratch or gouge the roof when blown by the wind.
- Accumulation of leaves and debris can retain moisture and cause rot
- Indoor signs of damage are cracked paint, discolored plasterboard, and peeling wallpaper
- Get Your Mind in the Gutters
During your roof inspection, ensure that your gutters are free of debris, blockage, cracks and rust. When water cannot drain properly going into winter, ice and snow will build up and put unnecessary strain on your roof which can cause more damage.
- Crack Down on Cracks
If you have any windows or doors in disrepair, now is the time to fix them. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, draft and air leaks can account for 10% of your heating bills! Look for any cracked windows, gaps in caulk around window seals or utility wire entry points, and ripped weather stripping around doors. These materials are inexpensive and easily applied to create an air tight house.
- How Fit is Your Furnace?
It is always in your best interest to give your heating system annual maintenance. Have it inspected by a professional now to avoid potential malfunction when the temperature really drops. Some clear signs that your heating system needs repair are as follows:
- Noisy screeches or whines could indicate a damaged belt in the motor.
- If your system is not working as well as it used to, it could need a cleaning. Ducts could be blocked or a part may need to be replaced or adjusted.
- Unpredictable behavior or changes in temperature could be a direct result of a faulty thermostat.
If you experience any of these problems you can always reach out to the friendly emergency service technicians at Nauman Mechanical Inc. (570)-476-7515.
- Protect the Pipes
This tip is especially important if you have an older home. Cold weather can cause plumbing pipes to freeze and even burst! To avoid flooding problems, check your basement or any crawlspaces for pipes that may not be insulated. Drain and store your garden hose. Be vigilant of exposed interior plumbing, especially if it is near an under-insulated wall or unheated area of your home. Copper are more vulnerable to freezing than others.
If you should find exposed pipes, run to your local hardware store and try any of the following materials. The options below are an easy and inexpensive way to avoid costly water damage:
- Wrap foam pipe insulation around exposed areas
- Fiberglass insulation
- Electric heat tracing, or heat tape
- Care for Your Air
Now that your home is sealed up tight, it is important to protect the quality of the air you’ll be breathing over the next several months. First step is to ensure that the filters in your heating system or furnace have been replaced. Clean the exhaust vents and ventilation ducts of dust and dirt. This will increase the performance of your heating system, circulate fresh air, and keep your house a little less dusty.
Next step is to plug in your humidifier. Don’t have one? Though they are not a necessity, moisturizing the dry winter air will make your home more comfortable. Not only does a humidifier boast health benefits for you and your family, it can also protect fine wood finishes in your home from cracking.
So there you have it. Follow Nauman Contracting’s helpful hints above and you will have a happier and more comfortable home for the holidays, and beyond!