Get your home ready for Winter & Rain ~roof- winter home inspection

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  • MRD Construction now offering free winter home inspection 1800-524-2165

The latest news reports and drastic global weather changes should be a wake-up call to start preparing our homes for the coming winter.  Let’s keep the cold outside and the warmth inside.

Many must-do projects, such as caulking, cleaning gutters, adding insulation or preparing emergency kits, will make your home more energy-efficient, help prevent weather damage and make things easier.

It is never too early to save energy and save money at home, whether it’s choosing energy-efficient products, sealing air and duct leaks, or adding insulation, you could save over 20 percent on your household energy bills by making energy upgrades to the home.

To start, the department advises people to get an energy audit of their home, or do one themselves “to find out where you are losing energy — and money.”

An energy audit can help determine if, for example, you have enough insulation, or whether there are leaks around windows or elsewhere that should be sealed.

Many winterizing projects, such as caulking, can be done by the homeowner; others, such as checking the heating system, usually require a professional.

“It always helps to get it done before its cold, because that’s one less thing you have to do in preparing for winter, the rain is around the corner.”

Here’s a look, alphabetically, at some things experts recommend doing to prepare for winter:

  • Stucco cracks

Checking for any kind of cracks is a prime project for this time of year, Caulk can be used to seal cracks around doors or windows, or around pipes.

Water penetrating into the walls can soft the wood, create mold and lot of damage

“Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls,” the Energy Department advises.

Weather-stripping can be placed at the bottom of a door or in a window sash to help produce a seal. There are many different types, from felt to vinyl and metal.

  • Chimneys

Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.

“You want to make sure there’s nothing built up in the chimney or any debris that’s worked its way in,”

Why?

Dirty chimneys can be a fire hazard, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website.

Creosote, a residue from wood burning, builds up over time and is combustible.

Make sure the damper is closed, except when using the fireplace.

Also, check to make sure a chimney is in place so birds or other wildlife don’t make the chimney their home.  Make sure that the metal flashing is in good condition and sealed.

Fireplace, furnace and any solid-fuel appliance should be checked minimally once a burning season to make sure both the chimney and appliance are in good condition.

“If you have a fireplace, you haven’t used it for more than a year; there are all kinds of things that could have happened. The chimney could be deteriorating, the damper may not be working properly or there could be an object stuck in the chimney.

“You could have squirrels, firecrackers, footballs, basketballs, cats, raccoons, anything. Those are some of the things I’ve taken out of chimneys in the past.”

  • Emergency kits

It’s good to have an emergency kit throughout the year, especially in California but it can be very important in the middle of storm when the power goes out.

“When preparing for emergency situations, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In addition to these basics, the agency also recommends that emergency kits contain a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, first aid items, moist towelettes and a whistle.

  • Fans

Ceiling fans circulate air in summer and winter. In winter, you’ll want to reverse the fan’s direction to eliminate downdraft. In most cases, you’ll want the fan to run clockwise during the winter months.

  • Gutters

As the leaves fall, they’re going to fill up your gutters.

Leaves will clog the gutters, preventing rain from flowing, which can cause water backup into the home.

Make sure that gutters have the proper angle so water always drains out.  Water has a funny way of finding tiny holes in the home, and we all know how much damage it can coast.

It’s a good idea, too, to look for gaps in the gutter where water can drip through, and patch them before rain comes as well as installing gutter guard.

  • Heating

Regardless of what type of heating system you use, it’s a good idea to have it checked before the start of each winter to make sure it is working correctly. (Checking filters, checking connections)

If you have oil heat, make sure your tank is full before the cold weather arrives.

Replacing filters is something the homeowner should do regularly.

“Whether it’s for a gas furnace or an electric heat pump, check whether the filter needs to be replaced to make sure it’s optimally providing the air that you need. That will help with the appliance’s efficiency as well as the added benefit of cleaning the air.

  • Insulation

The Energy Department estimates that you can save up to 20 percent on heating and air-conditioning bills by adding insulation to attics, under floors and in other areas where air can leak. There are several different kinds of insulation, ranging from bats or blanket insulation to loose fill or foams that can be sprayed in place. A department website, Energysavers.gov, has a map that shows how much insulation is needed in different areas of the country. An energy audit will be able to tell you if you have enough.

It’s also recommends putting an insulation jacket on your water heater.

  • Windows/ Doors

Winter is the time to make sure that your windows and doors are properly sealed. A quick inspection will help to find any air and water leaks an alternative to replace a bad window or door is to put plastic sheeting over to try to block drafts.
MRD Construction now offering free winter home inspection 1800-524-2165