Bracing for Winter

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  • It’s starting to get colder out there.  Have you noticed?  Winter is definitely creeping up on us.  Before you know it there will be termination dust in the mountains and the fireweed will be blooming all the way to the top.  People in the lower-48 may be having heat waves, but we know that September is when the temperatures can start dropping, so now is the perfect time to start thinking about making your home as winter-ready as possible.  But what do you need to do to batten down the hatches for winter?  Don’t worry.  We have a pre-winter checklist to get you started:

    • shutterstock_215924521Caulk cracks around door and window seals. The seals around your doors can crack and let in drafts as they age.  Apply caulk or a weather seal around your doors and windows where the seals may be old, cracked or failing to keep those drafts out.
    • Drain hoses and shut off exterior faucets. Drain the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses, then store your hoses and arrange to have any in-ground sprinkler systems cleared out for the winter.
    • Check on your outdoor lighting. During the summer months in Alaska, we don’t have much need for our outdoor lighting, but with less daylight every day now we’ll want to make sure all our exterior lights have working bulbs and wiring before the cold sets in and the darker winter months arrive.
    • Clean your gutters. Blocked gutters can cause leaks where water backs up or drains down the siding of your house instead.  Also, they lead to damaged roofing and more icicles dangling from your eaves.  So clean them out every fall to get ready for winter.
    • Check your roof. Now is the time to make sure you don’t have any roof leaks, missing shingles or damage to your roof that could be exacerbated in the winter months.  And while you’re at it, take a look at the tree branches over your house to make sure they won’t be cracking under the weight of the snow and wind this winter and landing on your home.  Trim them back if necessary.
    • Check chimney and fireplace vents. Before you fire up your fireplace this winter, be sure you don’t have a blocked chimney – either from built up debris or from critters that might have crawled in and made themselves at home during the summer months.
    • Reverse your fans. If your ceiling fans have a reverse setting, switch them over to it as it gets cooler.  This will help push the warm air down from the ceiling –which can be especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings.
    • Tune up your heating system. (And make sure your furniture isn’t blocking your heating vents if you moved things around during the summer.)  Fall is the perfect time to clean and service your heating system (and to consider replacing it with a money-saving ductless heat pump system if your current system is getting old and finicky and you’ll be needing a new one before winter ends).

    That’s our list – just a few simple steps to decrease the likelihood of having to deal with issues in your home during the colder months.  And if you think you may need a new heating system, don’t wait until you’re shivering in your home this winter – give us a call now to learn more about our many ductless heat pump options which can keep your home warmer for less money.

    And in the meantime, check those window seals, stock up on ice melt and get out your warmer coats, because as Game of Thrones tells us, Winter Is Coming.  And it will be here before we know it.