It may not feel cold outside yet, but cooler temperatures will be here before you know it, and with the change in weather comes a list of home maintenance that all homeowners should tackle before harsh weather sets in.
The Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas (BBB) and The United States Department of Energy encourage homeowners to conduct a home energy assessment to determine how slight corrections could make your home more energy efficient and likewise lower energy costs.
Performing biannual assessments — before summer and again before cold weather strikes — can make a huge difference in ensuring your home is prepared for any season.
BBB offers these tips when preparing your home for the colder weather:
Clean those gutters. A buildup of leaves and other debris can cause your gutters and downspouts to not drain properly. Improper draining can make water spill over your gutters which can lead to foundation/basement damage and damage to your fascia boards. In the winter, ice dams can form that can let snow melt underneath your shingles. To get a listing of gutter contractors near you, visit BBB.org.
Inspect your roof. Damaged or loose shingles can let in water and ice during the winter which can create interior damage. Visit BBB.org to get a listing of roofing contractors near you.
Test your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Making sure these important safety tools are in proper working condition is easy and vital to ensuring the safety of those in your home. The National Fire Protection Association offers great information on installing and maintaining smoke alarms. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has information on carbon monoxide detectors.
Check your window and doors for drafts. Adding caulk and weather stripping helps prevent leakage of cold air into your home as well as spiders and insects. Also check where pipes and wires enter your home.
Organize your garage. You will undoubtedly use your garage a lot more in the colder months. Get rid of trash and clutter and make sure your snow shovel and other winter-use items are easily accessible. Fill/repair any cracks or holes you see to prevent bugs and rodents from entering that will be seeking refuge from the cold. Find garage organizers near you.
Inspect your driveway. The frequent freezing and thawing conditions in many areas, along with tree roots and ground shifting, can cause driveways to develop areas of needed repair. Fall is a great time to fill cracks and sealcoat to prevent wintertime water/ice damage. Find driveway repair contractors near you.
Schedule HVAC maintenance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, preventive maintenance can help save you up to 25% in energy costs. Heating contractors near you can help you professionally service your heating unit.
Tend to the outside water supply. Cover up your outside water spigot(s). Spigot covers help keep the exterior pipes from freezing and are reasonably priced at your local hardware store. Empty hoses of any water and move them indoors.
Sweep your chimney. Having the soot and possible blockages or creosote build-up helps reduce the risk of a chimney fire and can improve the efficiency of your fireplace. BBB.org is a great place to find a chimney sweep near you.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan. In the colder months, you want your fan moving the warm air down, which means having your blades turn clockwise.
Check any professionals you may hire. Go to BBB.org to check the trustworthiness of a business. Do a general online search on a business to see what kind of reviews and other information may be available.
Tips on hiring a contractor of any kind to work in or around your home.
Look to businesses who adhere to the BBB Standards for Trust. Read more about BBB’s Accreditation Standards.
Mechele Agbayani Mills is President and CEO of the BBB Serving Central East Texas.