If you haven't heard, it gets cold in Des Moines.
Fall leaves will drop and soon transition into Winter icicles as we watch the temperatures around Des Moines plummet. In fact, the coming weeks are expected to be awfully chilly, so it's time to focus in on winterizing your home. Here are a few home winterizing tips and Winter home care to consider as we hunker down for another Iowa Winter.
Disconnect Outdoor Faucets
Many of us use rolled hoses that are connected to outdoor faucets. It's important to disconnect these from your home and store them where they won't freeze. This will keep your hoses in good condition, but also help you avoid a frozen faucet that can damage the exterior and interior of your home.
Close Down Irrigation System
Blowing the water out of your irrigation system is an annoying $60-$70 to spend each year, but this is key to protect the watering system you enjoy so much during Iowa's warm, dry season. (Did you see our Lawn Watering Tips article?) Although firing up irrigation systems in the Spring is something you may be able to do yourself, we suggest having a professional winterize your irrigation system. Along with making sure the water is properly contained, blowing out all the lines takes pressured air that is hard to do yourself. Like we said, it's a necessary evil, but well worth keeping your irrigation system in good shape. Also, don't wait too long. Many companies charge extra to do this past a certain date.
If you're in a new home, you may not need to clean your gutters yet, but if you have an older home or perhaps you live by a lot of trees that shed their leaves, it's a good idea to bring out the ladder and clean out your gutters. The primary reason is to make way for melting snow. This will reduce the chance of ice dams, which is when water backs up and freezes. This can damage your gutters, roofing, and may even cause water to seep into your home.
Furnace & Duct Maintenance
Changing your furnace filters each month is something all home owners should do. This will ensure warm air is flowing at optimal efficiency. This will save on your energy bills and also keep the air quality in your home clean. Duct sealing and cleaning is another smart thing to consider this time of year. Once again, if you have a new home it's unlikely you'll need much attention on this front, but as your home ages, it's important to keep your ducts maintained. Think of them like a highway that transports all that warm air throughout your home. You're paying for that warm air, so be sure your duct highway doesn't have traffic jams.
Tweak Water Heater & Thermostat
Many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees, but most homes don't need that much steam, and end up paying for it. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees can reduce your water heating costs between 5-10%. Also, revisit your thermostat to most efficiently maintain the comfort of your entire home. There's no need to have your home heated while nobody is home, but you want to keep a good temperature to avoid the furnace needing to work harder to catch up before you get home. Altering the temperature only slightly is recommended, unless you're going to be away for an extended amount of time. Even then however, don't let it get too cold in your home or your pipes could freeze. For each degree you lower the thermostat, you'll save around 1%-3% on your heating energy bill.
This is a fun little tip. It may even constitute as trivia, because somehow, changing the rotation direction of your ceiling fans can generate warmer air. This can also help gently move warm air throughout your home, so give this a try.
Forget The Plastic
Yes, applying sealed plastic to older windows will keep some of the warm air in and the cold air out, but if you can't make it look invisible, are the pennies you save worth a borderline-trashy look, haha? We don't think so. Also, if you have a new home built by Drake Homes, your energy efficiency is unmatched, so forget the plastic.
Throw on a sweater, cook up a warm beverage, or grab a cozy blanket to warm your body and use less energy during the cold months ahead. That sounds fun to us, so stay warm and as always, Contact Us if you have any questions about winterizing your new home.