How to prep your home for cold weather​

The advent of the winter season in Washington means that more people tend to stay indoors with less outdoor activity due to the chilling weather. This period offers an excellent opportunity to transform your living space into the cozy haven you’ve always desired. So, instead of facing the cold weather problem to do the required home improvement activities, use this time indoors to prepare to plan home remodeling projects tailored to your needs and requirements. And if you are still trying to figure out where to start, here are some useful tips on upgrading your home that will help you prepare.

1. Get your furnace serviced

Annual maintenance for your home’s heating system can lead to significant long-term savings. A professional technician will charge between $100 and $300 for a thorough assessment of your furnace, boiler, or heat pump to ensure that it is clean, well-maintained, and functioning up to the efficiency level guaranteed by its manufacturer. This inspection also involves testing for any carbon monoxide emissions.

By providing this service in the fall, the company can quickly slash its risk of facing emergency repairs right in the heart of winter. At the same time, it also spares its customers annoyingly long waits on the coldest days. Among the various contractors, you need to select one affiliated with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and whose technicians have NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification. The contractor is to perform following the “national standard for residential maintenance” of the ACCA (otherwise known as Quality Maintenance or the QM standard).

2. Update Your HVAC System

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems are delicate. However, you may only realize that your HVAC is dysfunctional once you need it the most. Therefore, you should always examine your system and test its limits to see whether it can withstand extreme temperatures expected during the winter. Better yet, you can upgrade the system to make it flawless and reliable for your temperature regulation needs as you shelter from the snow. If you have an extended warranty, you could regain more than 85% of the costs of upgrading your HVAC system if you sell your home. Moreover, it will ensure maximum protection from the cold throughout the season.

3. Do a roof inspection

Roof inspection is often forgotten but is critical to preparedness for challenges brought about by cold weather. If you don’t like heights, you could still do a pretty good inspection from the ground with a pair of binoculars instead of going aloft with a ladder to get a closer look.

Notice if there has been any damage, like loose or missing shingles, which may permit leakage from winter storms or melting snow. Of course, all this doesn’t mean you should ignore such clear wear indicators as cracked and worn rubber around vent pipes or a covering of moss and lichen, which can indicate decay underneath.

Especially for the flat roofs prevalent in the Southwest coated with asphalt and pebbles, get the fall leaves and pine needles off, for they trap moisture. Albuquerque-based past president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Bill Richardson, said homeowners shouldn’t sweep the rocks away since doing so might leave the asphalt underneath exposed to the asphalt-rotting rays of the sun and cause the asphalt to rot even faster.

Proper roofing maintenance guards against water damage, helps maintain warmth in your home by preventing cold air from entering and reduces the chances of ice damming, which can be catastrophic if left unchecked. Finally, it saves you from expensive repairs that exposure to winter weather can cause.

Roofing services

4. Renovate Your Kitchen and Kitchen Counter Tops

Your kitchen is probably the busiest room in your home because it buzzes with activity from morning throughout the day and late into the night. Therefore, remodeling your kitchen and furnishing all your countertops, lighting, sockets, sinks, faucets, and even your refrigerator units is an exciting experience because you will enhance all systems and ensure they satisfy you when preparing your meals. Moreover, you might need to store many food items during winter to avoid going outside. Hence, remodeling your kitchen to create some space will provide additional comfort and give you some peace of mind.

5. Seal Windows and Doors

The roof inspection quickly falls into the most easily overlooked list of to-dos, but it is essential to preparing your home for winter. Whether your roof inspection calls for a ladder or binoculars, it’s one task you’ve just got to get over when preparing your home for winter.

This inspection could keep the cold air out, save you from developing ice dams, and possibly averted burst pipes and expensive damage.

Check the shingles for missing or damaged shingles, wear around vent pipes, as well as moss or lichen growth that will cause a loss in heat. As experts, including Bill Richardson, advise, flat-roofed regions such as the Southwest should clear off the leaves and pine needles to avoid holding moisture. Avoid moving the protective pebbles on these roofs, which can lead to accelerated wear.

Doing these ensures your roof stays in good condition, ensuring your home is prepared for the cold and free from chimney fires and even frozen pipes that could make your home uncomfortable during winter.

6. Clean the gutters filled

Proper gutter cleaning is essential to winterizing the home against cold weather, ice formation, and potential burst pipes. Seasonal maintenance is highly significant, considering that spring and fall transitional periods impact it.

That’s likely to mean households snuggled among pine trees may want to ramp up the cleaning to every quarter just to ensure those pine needles aren’t clogging the gutters and downspouts, which can eventually lead to frozen pipes and another unnecessary costly repair.

Clogged gutters can lead to water overflow, mainly increasing the risk of such poisoning and, again, possibly damaging exterior vents, besides putting your roof, siding, and wood trim at further risk of facilitating leaks and increasing the formation of ice dams during winter storms.

This overflow can also increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Clogged gutters can attract rodents and other pests seeking shelter from the cold air, creating unwelcome infestations in your home.

Gutter cleaning in a single-story residence usually costs between $70 and $225, depending on the house size. You are also to inspect the gutters and fascia boards for damage or wear and tear and make necessary repairs.

These proactive measures will help keep your home warm and dry when winter temperatures plunge. At the same time, they will protect your gutters from being damaged by ice so that they can be functional and drain water from melting snow, protecting your home’s exterior and foundation from water damage.

7. Divert water pipes

Therefore, it is important to direct water away from your home while preparing for cold weather, avoiding foundation damage due to the conditions that would lead to the formation of ice dams and frozen pipes, including water damage.

This is important since extending the downspouts will ensure that melting snow and winter rain are diverted far from your home’s foundation. Therefore, the possibility of basement leaks and deterioration is reduced, which may require expensive repairs.

The base of the downspout extensions may also have gravel or stones to prevent soil erosion. This erosion may occur by making small holes at the house’s base and then filling them with water that will freeze and expand in winter, jeopardizing your home’s structure.

This will complement other winterization efforts, such as insulation of pipes or sealing windows and doors to prevent cold air from entering. Ensure your heating system is top-notch to circulate warm air, preparing your house for winter and beyond.

Incorporating gravel or stones at the end of the downspout extensions can also mitigate soil erosion, preventing the formation of small holes near the foundation where water could collect and freeze, posing a risk to the structural integrity of your home.

This method complements other winterization efforts, such as insulating pipes, sealing windows and doors to prevent cold air intrusion, ensuring your heating system is in top condition to circulate warm air, and preparing your home for winter months and beyond.

8. Winterize your sump pump

Winterizing the sump pump is a crucial activity that helps ensure the home is prepared well for cold temperatures. If snow is melting and probably even ice, it would be well placed without fear of bursting or frozen pipes and water damage.

The sump pump is essential in directing away the water from your basement and house during the months of rain, including winter, since the probability of water collection to flood is higher during these months.

Remove the connection of the extension hoses from the sump pump’s discharge pipe. When the temperature is consistent, falling and freezing points become a matter of fact. This becomes a preventive action against the hoses freezing up solid, which could stop the pump from expelling water; otherwise, burst pipes would result, and indoor flooding would ensue, causing costly repairs.

Moreover, monitoring the weather and removing hose extensions before the onset of freezing temperatures can prevent a scenario where a thaw or excess water triggers the pump, only for it to encounter an ice blockage. This could swiftly lead to a fully blocked system, risking water backup and extensive damage to your home’s interior and foundation.

The maintenance task complements other preparations for winter, such as insulating the pipes and sealing the leaks around the windows and doors to prevent the intake of cold air and let out the warm air. Also, check the heating system and the chimney to ensure that it is inspected and clean from fires and poisoning due to carbon monoxide of the chimney.

These measures would ensure a warm, dry, safe home through the winter months — protection from the problems that winter precipitation, ice dams, and winter weather, including heavy snowfall, bring to your dwelling.

9. Get the chimney swept

A crucial step in preparing your home for cold weather involves maintaining the cleanliness and functionality of your fireplace, chimney, and heating appliances. This is vital for heating efficiency and preventing risks of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual professional servicing to clean and inspect for blockages, creosote accumulation, and structural issues. Fireplaces and wood stoves generate ash and creosote, highly flammable substances that can lead to severe chimney fires.

Regular maintenance ensures efficient warm air distribution throughout your home and reduces the risk of chimney fires, creating a cozy environment during the cold months. If you opt to clean the chimney yourself, professionals must inspect it regularly to identify and mitigate any potential hazards.

It’s advisable to hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Cleaning costs range between $100 and $300, depending on the need identified during the inspection. These precautions ensure your heating system operates optimally, safeguarding your home against winter-related risks and keeping your indoor space warm against the chill.

10. Remodel Your Bathroom

Nothing beats a home with a perfect bathroom, a grand toilet, clean tiles, sparkling surfaces, and functional elements. As a result, Bathroom upgrades are among the most popular home remodeling projects for homeowners because they can substantially enhance the appearance and value of your home. For example, a bathroom with broken tiles, worn-out taps, soiled surfaces, blocked or clogged pipes, and dysfunctional parts are not easy to maintain when temperatures are freezing outside. Similarly, these issues can significantly reduce the value of your home in case you want to sell it. Therefore, you can kill two birds with one stone this winter by upgrading your bathroom and its components to limit issues like blockages, enhance your home’s beauty, and increase its value.

Remodeling you kitchen

11. Paint Your Interior and Exterior Wall Surfaces

Your wall surfaces say a lot about the energy you put into making your home look perfect. Therefore, consider painting your interior and exterior wall surfaces when remodeling your home. Moreover, some paints on exterior surfaces are designed to protect underlying materials from abrasion and snow.

Thus, painting your house can limit the destruction caused by hard snow and ice particles on your wall surfaces. On the other hand, bright colors naturally warm a home’s interior environment. Hence, a remodeling project that includes repainting the interior and exterior of your home can transform your space into a delightful, welcoming, and serene environment.

Professional Home Painting Services

12. Finish Up or Upgrade Your Basement

Most individuals have a habit of stacking up what they don’t need in their basement, allowing it to accumulate dust, rust, and various house pests over several years. However, your basement should not be a storage room because you can transform it into anything. For example, you can remodel it into a studio, study room, or lounging area where you can enjoy your free time with friends. That being said, finishing up or remodeling your basement can provide you with a solution for a safe space to spend your free time during the cold season.

Remodeling a basement often involves complex fixes because technicians must address all the issues, including the most neglected areas like floors, windows, hidden corners, and lighting circuits. Therefore, it might cost you more depending on your location and the work required to restore it to perfection. However, you can find more information about the average costs of remodeling and finishing your basement on the Redfin Blog.

Identifying the areas that need remodeling in your home is simple. However, difficulties arise when it’s time to find a reliable construction and remodeling service provider who will go out of their way to provide exemplary services. Luckily, Volcano Builders is dedicated to alleviating the challenges of finding a trustworthy construction and remodeling service provider for homeowners residing in Washington and its surroundings.

We started our organization four generations ago as a family business with a mission to put smiles on homeowners’ faces by crafting unique spaces that reflect their character, attitudes, and lifestyle. As a result, we are completely transparent in our process by giving you total control over your project. Moreover, our skilled technicians adopt the latest technological solutions to design and renovate your home spaces.

Although we are based in Seattle, we serve all individuals, including business organizations and realtors in Washington. Therefore, visit our home page and get a free quote if you require high-quality home renovations, repairs, or construction services to increase your comfort and ensure your safety during winter. We will contact you with more information about how we can add value to your home and interior spaces.