WINTER IS COMING: HERE ARE THE STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE TO WINTERIZE YOUR CHICAGO HOME
Thanks to NARI Chicago member Arete Renovators for sharing this great content!
Wintertime in Chicago can be absolutely stunning. Picture the snow-covered roofs and sidewalks, twinkling Christmas trees peaking through every window, and everyone bundled up in the warmest winter wear money can buy. While there are countless reasons to enjoy the city’s winter months, there are some downsides that we must prepare for as well. Every Chicago homeowner is aware of the severe effects that the weather can bring. Ice and snow can not only be a significant inconvenience to our everyday routines, but they also put lots of wear and tear on our homes. With a little effort and preparation, we can alleviate some of the downsides that go along with the brutal winters that we’ve come to expect.
CLEAN THOSE GUTTERS
We understand that removing debris from your gutters is no glamorous task. They are almost guaranteed to be full of all kinds of debris and leaves from the previous months! It is very important that you remove as much of this dirt and build-up as possible before the wintertime approaches. By doing so, you can avoid expensive water damage that can arise from water backing up into the roof line and causing interior leaks. Leaves, sticks, dirt, and whatever other items may collect there hold lots of moisture that can ruin the integrity of the exterior of your home. In previous blogs, we’ve touched on the importance of curb appeal when it comes to the resale value of your home. Keeping your gutters clear is a proactive way to make sure that your home maintains the appeal that it already possesses!
INSPECT YOUR SHINGLES
While you’re up there, you may as well kill two birds with one stone. Be safe and cautious while doing this (and don’t dare do it alone), but it is recommended that you take a close look at all of your shingles and flashing to make sure that none are missing or damaged. Shingles prevent moisture from getting into your home and compromising the structural integrity of your roof. Take some time to remove debris from your roof that may cause future damage as well. This can prevent future headaches when it comes to having to replace/repair your roofing prematurely.
SHUT OFF OUTDOOR WATER
It is highly unlikely that you will be needing your hose bibs as frequently during the winter as you do in the summertime. Consider shutting off the water source to the exterior of your home. After you do this, drain any remaining water from your hose bib. This is a simple hack that will help prevent your pipes from freezing/bursting during the frigid months, which could ultimately save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
FIX YOUR FURNACE FILTERS
We are all used to our ComEd bills skyrocketing during the wintertime, which for most, is a small sacrifice to make in order to keep our loved ones comfortable and cozy. If you have a furnace, the beginning of winter is a great time to clean/replace your filter so that it doesn’t have to work so hard to keep your home heated. It has been proven that this can cut energy costs significantly, and in turn, it is an important safety measure that should be implemented in your routine every few months. You can also consider keeping doors closed on rooms of your home that are not frequently used to help lower energy costs.
WATER HEATER TLC
Give your hot water heater some attention! After all, it does so much for us every single day. Many aren’t aware that particles can build up in your tank throughout the year. It is recommended that you drain it completely once a month during the winter months to keep it working as efficiently as possible, ultimately saving you money on energy costs as well.
INVEST IN A SNOW BLOWER
If you’ve survived winter in this city, at some point, you’ve more than likely taken a nasty (not to mention embarrassing) fall on a patch of ice. Investing in snow removal equipment for your sidewalks and/or driveway is mandatory in Chicago. Whether you live in a condo or single-family home, Chicago requires the owner to remove snow and salt the common sidewalk that runs along your property.
Ice and snow can be a safety hazard for your family, as well as any guests that you plan to invite over to celebrate the holidays. Nothing would be worse than having to rush Great-Aunt Susan to the ER after she slipped on the walk to your front door. There are usually some great sales on snow blowers and plows early in the winter, so be sure to catch them while they’re still going! Consider purchasing pet-friendly salt to protect your neighborhood’s four-legged friends.
REVERSE THOSE FANS
In our spring blog post, we discussed switching your ceiling fans from counterclockwise to clockwise. Well, now is the time to switch them back! Instead of turning them off when it gets cold outside, we ask that you try this method instead. We know that heat (warm air) rises, and this method will aid the warmth trapped near your ceiling in spreading throughout your home. Which will, again (say it with me), save you money when it comes to heating your home.
CHECK YOUR DETECTORS
Speaking of keeping your families safe, be sure to check all of those detectors and sensors! Carbon monoxide leaks are more likely to occur in the cold months when your heating system is working non-stop, so now would be a good time to make sure that everything is in working order. Also, make sure that the batteries in all of your smoke detectors are replaced as well. Better safe than sorry!
CHECK FOR CRACKS AND CREVICES
We don’t want to be out in the cold, but unfortunately, neither do the critters. Before the cold is in full effect, check around the corners of your home for any new cracks that have appeared. Pay extra attention to areas around windows, doors, and cracks in the masonry that could have a slight opening. There are some inexpensive ways to fill in these gaps, such as caulking or installing weather stripping. If you are interested in investing in replacing them, we here at Areté are always happy to help. Sealing windows, doors, and tuckpointing not only keep pests and rodents at bay but also save money on energy costs by preventing heat from escaping. Remember, heat moves to cold. And none of us want to pay to heat the great outdoors.