You can’t stop Chicago’s winters from coming. But you can take steps to protect your home against subfreezing temperatures and piles of heavy snow.
Don’t wait for something to go wrong, instead, take action now with these five winterizing home projects.
1. Protect your pipes.
All indoor pipes are protected somewhat from the cold, even those in unheated areas of your home like a crawl space. And for homes in Chicago, where temperatures regularly fall below freezing, pipes are insulated to withstand temperatures of at least 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
To prevent vulnerable pipes in exterior walls, your attic or basement, or galvanized steel pipes from freezing, you need to take some extra precautions so they can withstand the extreme temperatures Chicago winters can bring.
The easiest solutions are:
- Insulate your pipes with pipe insulation.
- Seal leaks in your home.
- Drain and disconnect outdoor valves.
- Let water drip overnight during extremely cold weather.
- Keep your house warm overnight.
2. Prep your fireplace.
Fireplace fires are one of the most common causes of household fires. Proper preparation and maintenance can go a long way in preventing this tragedy in your home.
Focus on these three areas when preparing your fireplace for the winter:
- Clean your chimney. This will eliminate creosote accumulation (created from unburnt fuel) which is very susceptible to ignition.
- Repair your chimney. Cracks in your chimney’s lining or exterior can allow heat to escape and spread over areas of your home that aren’t designed to handle it.
- Clear your roof. Low hanging branches, old storm debris, or clogged gutters are all susceptible to the release of heat and embers from your chimney. Make sure the area around your chimney is free and clear of combustible materials.
3. Change your furnace filter.
A clogged furnace filter can restrict the flow of warm air throughout your home causing your furnace to work harder and wear out sooner.
Change your furnace filter every three months.
4. Protect your roof.
Clogged gutters and blocked roof valleys can lead to ice damming and leaks during prolonged periods of cold or heavy snowfall. Have your gutters cleaned in early fall and then again in early spring.
Get your roof winter-ready with these four steps:
- Remove, repair, or replace frayed or missing shingles, clogged valleys, or damaged flashing.
- Trim back low-hanging branches to avoid further damage.
- Clear accumulated debris.
- Invest in a snow roof rake.
5. Install a programmable thermostat.
You can save money on the cost of heating and head off furnace burn out with a programmable or smart thermostat. Set the temperature to drop when the home is empty, and rise when you return home. You can also lower the temperature slightly while you sleep.
“Lowering your thermostat by 10-15 degrees for eight hours can reduce your heating bill by 5-15%,” according to Constellation, an Exelon company.
Winter’s in Chicago can be rough, but they don’t need to be rough on your home. Taking a few simple steps before the cold sets in can save you time and money down the road.
Need a referral to get you started on your winterizing projects? We can help.
Contact us today!