During winter, your home is at risk of winter damage brought about by frozen pipes, ice dams, falling trees, and winter storms, and such damage can harm you financially. For example, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the U.S. economy loses about $2.9 billion per winter storm event. Additionally, more than 50% of home insurance claims result from winter damage every year, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). This means you need to brace your home for the cold weather to prevent damage and avoid unnecessary costs.
Here are a few things you need to remember while winterizing your home.
1. Ensure Your Furnace is in Top Shape
To heat your house efficiently without inflating your energy bills, your furnace should have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 95% or higher. However, over time, your furnace loses its efficiency due to factors such as poor maintenance, cracks in the air ducts, and dirty filters. Since your furnace will most likely run for longer hours in winter, you should ensure your furnace is in top shape before the winter season starts. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends changing the furnace filter frequently to prevent obstruction in the HVAC system. You can also install an automatic thermostat that runs according to the demand for heat.
2. Weatherstrip Your House
Holes and cracks in doors and windows can provide space for heat to escape from the house during winter. In turn, this may cause the furnace to overwork in an attempt to satisfy the demand for heat. To prevent this, ensure you weatherstrip your windows and doors using caulk, weatherstrips, and insulating curtains. This will be a perfect way to retain as much heat as possible. You can also install a double-pane window to slow down the escape of heat.
3. Insulate Water Pipes
Every winter, outdoor temperatures drop up to less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, putting your water pipes at the risk of freezing. Freezing can eventually cause pipes to burst and cause water damage in your home. Because insulated pipes can keep water up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the uninsulated ones, ensure you insulate your hot water pipes to retain the heat and prevent water damage, as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The best time to insulate pipes is during the construction of your home, as it is more economical than hiring a plumber to do it during winter.
4. Install Storm Windows and Doors
Storm windows and doors typically minimize the flow of air between the interior and exterior of your house. This way, they minimize heat loss during winter and lower your energy costs. For maximum efficiency, you should install storm windows and doors with low-emittance (low-E) coating to reflect heat into the house during winter, as per the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
5. Unclog Your Downspouts
When outdoor temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, ice dams can form on the roof and eventually cause water damage. However, as temperatures rise to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the ice melts, but the resulting water can still penetrate the roof and damage your ceiling, according to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). To prevent this, ensure you remove debris from the gutters and downspouts and pave the way for the water to escape. This will help prevent roof damage as well as water damage in winter.
Keep this home winterization checklist handy to protect your home from weather-related damage. Moreover, if you need help with home insurance, call the professionals at Jack Stone Insurance Agency. Our team can help you accurately secure the right homeowners insurance in Hudson and beyond. Contact us today to get started before listing your home for sale.