We all know that the winters in the Portland and Vancouver area come with cold and rain. In order to prepare our homes for the NW winter, we have to accomplish some tasks around the house. It’s not always fun but it is beneficial and can save you money in the long run.
Seal Your Doors And Windows
Your doors and windows do not only provide a sense of security in your home they also serve as a conduit for air leaks. The EPA estimates that you can save an average of 15% on heating costs by sealing your home from air leaks. Since windows and doors are one way for air to get inside or escape it’s important to have these routinely sealed before each winter. Not only will you save money on your heating bill but you will get to enjoy a greater level of comfort in your home. Sealing your doors and windows will help to reduce outside noise, prevent allergens and insects from entering your home, aid in humidity control and lower the chance for ice dams during snowy weather.
Take Care Of That Yardwork
Yardwork can be a grueling task as it seems there is always something to do when it comes to yardwork in the NW. With all of the evergreens surrounding home properties, homeowners constantly have to maintain their yard spaces. In the spring yard work can be a little more exciting knowing that summer is right around the corner. Taking care of yardwork to prep for winter is a different story but it’s worth doing as it will make your work come springtime much easier and prevent possible damage to your home.
One of the most important tasks with winter yardwork preparation is trimming down tree limbs. The Portland and Vancouver area can get its fair share of wind which can cause limbs to fall on top of roofs, cars or objects around the yard causing damage. Cutting back broken or old tree limbs can reduce the risk of this happening. If trees are close to a house it is even more imperative to trim back limbs, especially those that hang over your home.
Prep Your Heating System
It’s important to prep your heating system each winter. To do this you need to change out the filter, see if your air ducts need to be cleaned, and ensure that your thermostat is operating correctly. The filter on your HVAC unit works to keep out dust and debris as well as filter the air inside your home. Replacing your filter should happen on a quarterly basis to extend the life of your unit and allow it to work efficiently.
Dust, mold, and other allergens can easily accumulate in your household air here in the Pacific Northwest. Having your ducts cleaned every three to five years will help clean out these pollutants and keep the air inside your home clean. Ducts that are full of dust can also cause a blockage in the vent system forcing your HVAC unit to work harder than it needs to.
Newer homes should have updated digital thermostats, unlike older mercury models. If you have an older model you can test the temperature of your home with a thermometer and compare it to your thermostat to see if the temperature is aligned. If the temperatures do not match this is a sign that your older thermostat needs to be replaced.
Protect Your Plumbing
Winters in the Pacific Northwest are full of rain but you never know how cold it’s going to get. No matter what the winter has in store, it’s vital that you protect your plumbing as this can be costly if disaster strikes. Remove and store your hoses for the winter, turn off all outdoor faucets, and cover exposed faucets and pipes with insulation to help keep pipes from freezing and bursting during colder winter temperatures. If you notice leaks or drips after faucets have been turned off you will want to fix these before winter sets in. Cleaning out drains and gutters as well as checking your water heater relief valve will also help to protect your plumbing.
Check For Exterior Maintenance
When it comes to exterior maintenance, there are a few things to keep in mind. One is that all of your foundation vents are in tack to prevent critters from getting into your crawlspace over the winter. You will also want to cover them with anything from foam covers to a more visually appealing foundation cover.
Inspect your exterior for any cracks in the siding or around your foundation. If cracks are found they will need to be sealed to prevent water damage as well as preventing an access point for outside pests. Cracks or holes around doors and windows need to be addressed for energy efficiency and water damage prevention. Clearing out the gutters will help with preventing roof leaks and ice dams if it snows. Lastly, the roofing system needs to be inspected for missing shingles or areas where water can get inside. After everything is inspected repairs can be made. Repairing things like roofing is much more cost-effective than replacing an entire roof. Checking for exterior maintenance issues is well worth your time since most things can be addressed through simple fixes that anyone can do.
If you want to prepare your home for a winter in the Portland or Vancouver area, make a list of everything you need to do and start checking things off the list until it is complete.