Winterizing your home -- don't forget! As winter approaches, it's easy to get caught up in apple picking, holiday planning and foliage tours in Vermont and ignore the important steps of winterizing your home. If you're a second homeowner with a condo or house in Vermont, it's even more important to winterize your home -- prolonged absence coupled with brutal winter temperatures and precipitation can cause big problems if proper cautions are not taken.
Compliments of Chimney Hill and our experienced staff, here is our checklist for winterizing your home, vacant or otherwise:
1.) Close all vents in your crawlspace and turn on any heat sources. Ventilation is important during summer months, but you should remember to close up any sources where outside air can make its way in. Use custom-cut rigid foam or fiberglass batt insulation for extra protection against frigid outside temps.
2.) Set your heat at 45-50 degrees in any areas where there are water pipes, including bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. It may seem silly to leave the heat on when you're away from home, but the cost of that heat is much much less than the cost of repairs when your pipes burst and flood surrounding areas. If there are particular problem areas that the home's heating system can't handle alone, look into "heat tape," an electric blanket of sorts that can be wrapped around pipes to prevent freezing.
3.) Have your chimney professionally cleaned for the upcoming winter. Often overlooked but extremely important, cleaning your chimney not only improves efficiency, it's also a safety matter: buildup of creosote can cause chimney fires that may spread to the house.
4.) Give your furnace a checkup. Call your oil or gas provider and schedule a checkup and cleaning. Just like your chimney, a well-tuned, clean furnace not only improves efficiency but makes your home safer. Oil-burning furnaces should get a checkup annually while gas-burning furnaces need it every two years.
5.) Rid your house of the autumn onslaught of mice by contacting an exterminator. Mice seek refuge from the oncoming winter by heading inside, so bring a professional to prevent infestation.
6.) Install storm windows. If you have a newer home with double-paned windows, you may not have storm windows. But you can pick up special "window film" that is stretched over the interior of windows as an added air barrier. You can pick up window film at most hardware stores.