All right, Montana, winter is right around the corner. Are you ready? Here are some simple things you and your friends can do to prepare your home for this year’s first frost – and increase its energy efficiency!
Schedule a winterization for the sprinkler system
If you have an underground sprinkler system, now is the time to blow all the water out. If you’re not sure how, make a quick phone call to your sprinkler maintenance company and make an appointment soon. Freeze damage to underground sprinkler systems is easy to prevent, and can be very expensive to repair!
Unhook hoses and insulate hydrants
If you’re storing your hoses in an unheated shop/shed, be sure to drain the water out of them first! Hydrant insulators protect your hose-bibs from freezing and causing burst pipes and flooding in your home.
Seal up foundation vents
Some foundation vents will close automatically when the temperature dips below a certain point – but not all. Prevent frozen pipes and help keep your home clean by closing the dampers and leaving the cold air outside where it belongs.
Change furnace filters and turn on thermostats
Now’s the time to prepare your furnace for its busiest time of the year. Change out your old furnace filters to prevent blowing old dust and allergens through your home.
Check weather-stripping around windows, doors, and garage doors
Doors, windows, and other gaps in your building envelope are a major source of heat loss. Make sure that your weather-stripping is flexible and doesn’t have cracks or tears. Even small imperfections can let the cold air in and increase your energy bill for the winter. And don’t forget your garage doors!
Apply heat tape to gutters, downspouts, and eaves
It’s much easier to put up heat tape before the snow falls and your gutter freezes over. A frozen gutter may pull the fascia right off your house.
Remember, every home is different – you may have systems or appliances that require further winter maintenance than what is listed here. For suggestions on products, techniques, or other methods to increase the energy efficiency of your home, stop in to your local Western Building Center.