Boston winters can be quite frigid, with heavy falls of snow and ice. It’s important to do what you can to keep warm at home, without causing a spike in your heating bills. Fortunately, you can easily take steps to do so by winterizing your home.
Winterizing is the process of sealing your home, bolstering your insulation, and generally preparing it for an energy efficient winter. The goal is to seal all the heat inside your home so that you don’t have to feel drafts or pay extra for heat that escapes through weak points of your home. You can find plenty of tips on winterizing the interior of your home — insulating your pipes, checking the garage and attic for leaks, and making sure your hot water tank is in shape.
But you should also take steps to winterize the exterior of your home. In fact, this can be even more important when it comes to energy efficiency and keeping drafts out. Need to winterize your home’s exterior? Here is our complete checklist.
Heat rises. During the winter, if your roof isn’t well-maintained, your heated air could rise straight through your roof and out of your house. To winterize your roof, you want to make sure that all the vents are properly sealed with flashing or caulk that is secure. You should also take care to protect your roof against leaks and your home against water damage. In addition to your roof itself, your roof gutters are important because they help to funnel water off the roof and away from the home. The steps to winterize your roof include:
- Check for damaged shingles and repair them.
- Clean your roof gutters and repair loose gutters. Possibly install gutter guards to protect them from debris.
- Check your downspouts attached to your roof gutters to make sure their pathway is clear.
- Check your roof flashing and nail down anything that’s come loose.
- Clear off any moss, algae, mold, or debris.
- Trim back nearby trees, giving your roof at least three feet of clearance.
- Look for signs of water damage in the attic and fortify your attic with more insulation.
- Potentially invest in a snow roof rake.
- Use a chimney balloon for inactive chimneys to help keep heat in.
Siding and Walls
Siding wraps around the walls of your home, helping to keep the elements out and even add to the insulation of the place in some cases — as with insulation-backed vinyl siding. Your siding protects the insulation material of your home from pests and water damage. If your siding is itself damaged, that makes your entire home vulnerable. If you start to notice discolored spots on your wall or that your walls feel cold to the touch, it’s probably time to winterize your siding and walls.
- Repair any siding that’s come loose from the wall or replace siding with a more energy efficient model if need be.
- Caulk any small holes causing a poor seal.
- Add insulation to your walls if you’re noticing a draft.
- Do a self-inspection or hire a professional to inspect the siding for any issues you might have missed.
Windows & Doors
Most heat will likely escape through your windows and doors. If these are poorly sealed, or if the windows are poorly made, cold air can leak into the home and heat can escape out, leading to drafts and even more uncomfortable heating bills. Fortunately, windows and doors are easy to winterize and to winterize affordably. Some of the steps to winterizing your windows and doors include:
- Caulk and weatherstrip your windows to seal any potential cracks.
- Weatherstrip your doors and install door sweeps.
- Place plastic wrap or bubble wrap over your windows to keep cold from escaping.
- Replace any cracked window frames.
- Install storm windows and doors.
- Add window treatments like blackout curtains.
- Upgrade old, outdated windows for more energy efficient models.
Finally, there’s your deck. During the winter, you probably won’t spend much time on your deck, but you’ll still want it to be in good shape when spring and summer comes back around. Your deck is your main outdoor entertainment space, as well as a place to relax and enjoy the view. But most of the furniture and other things on your deck are not built for the extremes of winter. Taking care of your deck is an important part of winterizing your home, including:
- Bringing your deck furniture inside your garage, sunroom or otherwise before heavy snowfall.
- Move any planters into storage.
- Clear off any dirt and debris and trim back any nearby trees to prevent further debris.
- Wash your deck and then seal it to prepare it for winter precipitation.
- Look for and repair any damage to the decking, railing, and supports.
- Shovel snow off your deck regularly so it doesn’t linger.
Winter can be quite formidable in central Massachusetts, especially Boston. It helps to prepare your home by winterizing not just the inside but the outside. This checklist will ensure that you have everything covered before you burrow away inside for the winter. Still need help winterizing your home or replacing any of your home exteriors with something more energy efficient? Contact Solid State Construction today for more information or to get started with a free estimate.