by Allie Moffett


Whether we want to believe it or not, colder weather is quickly on its way. With holidays, school events, and day-to-day to dos, it’s easy to forget that your home needs some extra attention to ensure it can withstand our Midwest winters. BAGI’s trusted industry experts weighed in and provided indoor and outdoor winterizing tips so that you can prepare your home for all of our harsh winter weather to come.

WHEN TO WINTERIZE

According to Forbes Home, it’s a good rule of thumb to begin the process of winterizing your home in early fall. If you decide to do it yourself, this will give you plenty of time to tackle projects at your own pace. However, if you are hiring a pro, you will need to schedule service appointments as soon as possible so that you can get any necessary work completed before the weather turns for the worse. If you didn’t get around to winterizing your home this fall, it’s not too late! Implement the advice from BAGI’s trusted partners to prepare your home as soon as possible.

PREPPING YOUR PIPES

Preparing your pipes should be at the top of your winterizing list. To prevent your pipes from freezing, Midwest Remediation recommends leaving a slow trickle of water running through several faucets when the temperatures really dip, and opening cabinet doors below sinks to allow some warm air into the cavity and around the pipes. Both of these minor adjustments keep piping warm, preventing frozen water and a flooded disaster.

“You’ll also want to make sure you unscrew any garden hoses from your outside spigots,” says Michael Rodgers of Justin Dorsey Plumbing, “When it comes to exterior plumbing, hoses are the #1 cause of leaks. You don’t even have to worry about covering your spigot, just make sure you don’t have anything hooked up to it.”

MAINTAINING YOUR FIREPLACE

Along with taking extra care for your pipes, now is a good time to have your fireplace flue inspected and cleaned so you are prepared to safely use your fireplace during the winter months. To get the job done, hire a local chimney sweep to clear any dangerous debris and ensure that smoke can exit the chimney effectively. Brian Adams from Godby Hearth & Home also recommends looking into converting your traditional woodburning fireplace to a gas or electric option. “If you’re interested in a fireplace that requires minimal maintenance and upkeep, try upgrading to a gas or electric version!” he says, “They come in a variety of styles and are generally safer to use than a woodburning fireplace.”

TREATING YOUR CONCRETE

When a snowstorm is in the forecast, homeowners often prepare for ice by putting down salt, however, Weber Concrete encourages homeowners to stray away from using salt on sidewalks and driveways, as this may damage the surface of the concrete. To keep your concrete in top condition, try a de-icer from the hardware store to prep your driveway and sidewalks instead. Next time you’re at the store, grab a bag or two so that you have some on-hand and are prepared before the snow hits.

WINTERIZING YOUR WINDOWS

While they may let us enjoy winter views, our home’s windows can actually be one of the biggest culprits of letting in cold air. Bill McComb of Pella Windows & Doors of Indianapolis suggests four simple steps for winterizing your windows:

1. CAULK AND SEAL WINDOWS FOR WINTER: Sealant and caulking helps create a barrier between the window frame and the exterior siding. Check out each window to ensure everything is in working order and that all seals are airtight – and watertight. While air will make your home cold, water that seeps in and freezes can do even more damage.

2. APPLY NEW WINDOW WEATHERSTRIPPING: Quality weatherstripping should be tight, covering the space between the window sash and frame to reduce air leaks and prevent water from entering your home. In most cases, you can simply unsnap the current weatherstripping and replace it with a new piece.

3. INSPECT WINDOW LOCKS AND LATCHES: A window that can’t close properly is going to let air and moisture in. Operate each window to make sure everything is working. If something sticks or is difficult to operate, try cleaning and lubricating it. If that doesn’t work, the mechanism may need to be repaired or replaced.

4. HANG THERMAL CURTAINS: Thermal window curtains not only help with the cold, they also reduce the noise in your home and block out sunlight. Once spring comes, it’s easy to swap thermal curtains out for lighter window treatments.

“Winterizing your windows will not only help maintain your home’s temperature, but it will also reduce your heating bill and improve energy efficiency,” McComb adds, “It’s definitely worth doing before the temperatures drop.”

TESTING YOUR FURNACE

Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning encourages homeowners to test run their furnace early in the fall. To do so, turn the thermostat over to “heat” on a mild day and make sure the furnace turns on and properly provides heat. If there’s an issue, this will give you time to have it addressed before 2 3 4 the initial rush of service that can occur early in the heating season.

If you have a multi-level home that’s served with one HVAC system, Airtron suggests performing a “seasonal balancing” with the changing weather. Warm air naturally rises, so you’ll want to damper down registers on the upper levels and make sure all registers on the lower levels are fully open. Leaving the furnace fan in the “on” setting will constantly circulate air – even if there is no call for heating – and help to balance temperatures throughout the home.

You can also prepare your home for the changing season but installing a new air filter. Dirty filters can reduce air flow within the system and cause a furnace to shut down due to a buildup of heat. The system will then continuously kick off and on in an attempt to heat your home but will fail until a new air filter in installed. This simple and affordable fix will ensure that your furnace can heat your home effectively.

READY FOR WINTER

As winter approaches, make sure your home is equipped to handle freezing temperatures and all of the elements that come with it. By implementing the tips provided by BAGI’s trusted partners, you can proactively care for your home and your family and have a safe and warm winter season. Learn more about home care and connect with industry experts at www.bagi.com.