Weather patterns indicate that we may experience more winter weather in Virginia this year. As the temperatures drop, it’s important to prepare your home for winter to maintain comfort, conserve energy, and prevent damage during cold weather. In today’s post, we are sharing tips to get your home ready for cold weather, as well as a few smart home features that will start paying off now.
Winter Home Maintenance Projects
Chimney and Fireplace Maintenance
Before using your fireplace, hire a professional to clean and inspect your chimney. Ensure that the fireplace damper properly opens to prevent any smoke back-ups and closes securely to protect against drafts.
Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It is essential that all detectors function properly when heating systems are in use.
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Remove debris to ensure proper drainage in your gutters and downspouts. During freezing temperatures, clogged gutters can create ice dams and cause roof and gutter damage.
Service Your Heating System
Schedule a service call with an HVAC professional. Change filters regularly and consider installing a programmable thermostat for efficient temperature control.
Freezing temperatures lead to freezing pipes. Insulate your pipes, particularly in unheated areas like crawl spaces, attics, and basements.
Tip: During extremely cold weather, allow your faucets to drip slightly to prevent freezing.
Turn off Outdoor Faucets
Disconnect and drain your outdoor garden hoses. Turn off outdoor faucets and drain any water to prevent freezing and potential pipe damage.
If you have any gaps or spaces around your windows and doors, caulk or weatherstrip to prevent heat loss. Check around pipes, vents and electrical outlets for gaps that need to be sealed.
Smart Home Technology
If you are looking for more tech-forward ways to improve your home’s efficiency during the winter, it’s the perfect season to integrate smart home features. As you prepare your home for winter, incorporating some of this smart technology will pay-off all year long.
Smart thermostats allow you to control the heating system remotely, adjusting the temperature to save energy when the house is empty and ensuring warmth upon your return. Some models are even designed to learn your habits and adjust settings automatically.
Smart Plugs and Outlets
One way to save energy and create a safer home is by installing smart plugs and outlets. This technology allows you to remotely turn off devices connected to the smart plug. Remote management is especially helpful for turning off space heaters or electric blankets in the winter; two items that pose potential fire hazards when left unattended.
Smart Sensors for Leak Detection
Busted pipes during the winter is a common occurrence when temperatures drop below freezing. Smart sensors will alert you to leaks when they begin, and some models can turn off your home’s water supply to prevent a significant problem.
Automatic Blinds and Shades
Automatic shades and blinds can help to regulate your home’s temperature, protect against UV rays, and create a more energy efficient home. These window coverings can be programmed to open and close during specific times of the day. In the winter, they can help retain heat by opening to allow in the sun’s natural warmth and closing when it’s cold, overcast, or dark. Similarly, during the summer, the window coverings can close to keep the sun’s heat out.
Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Safety is crucial during the winter months when heating systems are used more frequently. Smart detectors connect to your smart phone and send you alerts when you are away from home.
By following these tips and integrating some smart home features, you can better protect your home, improve energy efficiency, and ensure a more comfortable living environment during the winter months. Remember to consider your specific needs when you prepare your home for the winter. If you have questions or need recommendations of trusted service providers, our agents in Richmond, Williamsburg, the Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula, and the surrounding areas, will be happy to give you advice and recommendations.
At Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville Real Estate, we don’t just know homes, we also know people. As a result, we’re closely connected to our communities. We’re driven by the privilege of connecting people to lifestyles, as well as finding the right house in the right neighborhood. Above all, we love helping you settle into your new home and your community.