I know this is a little late in the season, but I don’t think our Colorado winter is over yet. -Bruce
Home Winterization: What to Do Yourself and What to Leave to a Professional
You’re probably moving your summer clothes to storage and pulling out your cold weather gear right around this time. Likewise, you’re probably thinking about changing your car’s tires to snow tires and getting a pre-winter tune up. Your house should be no different – now’s the time to begin to make preparations for the winter season. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that winter will hit before you have a chance to fully winterize your property. Here are some essential winterization tasks and some advice on whether to DIY or hire help.
Flush your water heater: DIY
It’s going to get cold, so you’re going to really need your water heater to be functioning at full capacity. The water heater may be located in your basement, and you may be scared to mess with a large piece of equipment that you don’t 100% understand, but flushing your heater is a 100% DIY project that will only take minutes. Just open the drain valve located at the bottom and get rid of a year’s worth of costly sediment!
Repair your roof and seal cracks around chimneys: Professional
Fixing broken or completely missing shingles and sealing the foundation around roof openings (vents, chimneys) is a task best left to the pros. Not only is it a job that benefits from years of experience, but climbing on your roof as the weather begins to turn bad is dangerous in its own right. You can do a little bit of DIY winterization when it comes to cleaning and installing guards on your gutters, but for real roof maintenance just call for help.
Get your heating system in tip top shape: DIY/Professional
You should certainly call in an HVAC specialist to inspect your furnace before the cold sets in. But you can do some smaller things to help, like changing your air filters (which will boost your unit’s efficiency and the quality of air in your home), cleaning up the area around your furnace (to prevent potential fire hazards), and even installing a newer, smart thermostat to help you save on energy costs.
Prevent plumbing nightmares: DIY
One of the most costly (and annoying) things winter can throw at a homeowner is a busted pipe, so it’s good that there are ways to prevent it from happening altogether. Three do-it-yourself things you can tackle today: disconnect your outdoor hoses; turn off the water supply to outdoor spigots at the source; and insulate any exposed pipes in your home. For the latter task, you can buy pipe insulation or you can even use pool noodles – whatever works! Here are some more tips on preventing frozen pipes.
Double up on insulation: DIY or Pro
The good thing about installing additional fiberglass insulation in your home is that it’s not that difficult of a task (as long as you wear the proper safety gear like gloves, mask, and goggles). The bad news is that the places where you really need to install additional insulation – attics, crawlspaces, and basements – are often hard to access for some homeowners. Do it yourself, call a friend to help, or hire someone. If you choose the latter option, you can buy the insulation yourself to save on costs (it’ll be around $25 a roll).
Whether you DIY all your home winterization or hire pros, in the end the only thing that matters is that you get it done. A few hours and a couple hundred dollars worth of prep today can save you thousands of dollars in damage and repairs and untold headaches in the future. Be smart. Get winterizing today.