Fall’s glorious colors, cooler temperatures and delicious comfort foods make the season a favorite among many. But winter’s coming. Enjoy fall’s unique and endearing offerings, but don’t forget to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home for the upcoming and not-so-endearing season. Get it ready to withstand winter’s freezing temperatures before they arrive. You’ll save yourself a lot of worry and expense.
This checklist will help you winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home.
Home heating system
- Checking your Brooklyn home’s heating system by the end of October is ideal. Follow these steps to check if it is working properly:
- Turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees.
- Listen for the furnace to turn on. Warm air should start warming up your home in just a few minutes.
- Turn the thermostat back down to its normal setting if the heating system is working properly.
If it is not working properly, take a look at this gas furnace troubleshooting guide. You may be able to fix it yourself. If not, call a qualified service technician.
- Choose to have the furnace checked by a service technician for seasonal maintenance or do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, refer to this seasonal furnace maintenance guide to make sure your furnace is running efficiently and safely.
- Replace the air filter with a new one. During cold winter months, filters should be checked monthly. Replacing the air filter is easy to do.
- Make sure your propane tank or oil furnace is full of fuel to heat your home.
- Clear heating vents of debris like dust, bugs, home construction leftovers, mold, toys, food, etc. Yes, you’d be amazed at all that is in your heating vents!
- Test for carbon monoxide leaks in your home. Carbon monoxide test badges or alarms are inexpensive to purchase. They can easily detect whether or not this silent killer is in your home.
Home cooling system
- The condensing unit of your cooling system needs to be cleaned of dirt and debris. Spray the fan blades and condensing coils with the highest hose pressure you have.
- Protect your condensing unit from damage in the winter season. Wet leaves and debris contribute to rusting and freezing of your unit’s internal components. Use a breathable, waterproof cover to protect and extend the life and efficiency of your unit.
- If you have window air conditioners, remove and store them for the winter. If they are not removable, use a breathable, waterproof cover as described above.
Chimney and fireplace or wood burning stove
- Clear the chimney of nests.
- Check the flue to make sure it opens and closes completely. Is it able to be locked in either position?
- Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly.
- Roll up several sheets of newspaper. With the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. Does the smoke rise up the chimney? If it doesn’t, call a professional in to clean the chimney of obstruction – creosote, ash and debris.
- How long has it been since you had your chimney cleaned? If the answer is, “Not in a very long time,” or “Never,” call a professional chimney sweep.
- Inspect the fire brick in the fireplace for open mortar joints. If you find open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately! Open mortar joints can allow a fire to spread into the stud wall behind the fire brick.
- Insulate exposed pipes
Exposed water or drain pipes in an uninsulated crawlspace, attic or outside wall are especially vulnerable to freezing. Insulate them with foam insulation at least. Wrap them with electrical heating tape first, follow with insulation. Burst pipes can cause extensive damage making this home repair one of the most expensive.
- Eliminate the possibility of exterior pipe bursts
- Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets inside your Brooklyn home.
- Drain the water from exterior faucets, also known as hose bibbs or sill-cocks by opening up the exterior faucet. Consider covering hose bibbs with an insulated cover. Always disconnect your garden hoses from the sill-cocks or outside faucets. If you store your garden hoses outside, drain them, too.
If you are leaving town for several months, winter, spring, summer or fall, drain your whole home’s plumbing system. You will avoid costly damage to the inside of your Brooklyn home while no one is home. See how to drain your home’s plumbing system here.
Easy insulation tips to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home
- Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket. You can buy an insulating blanket at the hardware store.
- Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates with an inexpensive foam sealing gasket.
- Cut a piece of fiberglass insulation to stuff into the fireplace behind the glass doors to block cold air coming that comes down the chimney. Remove the insulation when you use the fireplace.
- Save money on your heating bill. Reduce cold air leaks around doors and windows with weatherstripping. Drafty doors and windows raise your heating bill as much as poor insulation in the walls and ceiling do.
So, if you haven’t already started to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home, put down that pumpkin spice latte. Check your Brooklyn home’s heating system right away. Then move through this checklist to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home, and save yourself a lot of worry and expense.
Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or email, [email protected] for more information about how to winterize the inside of your Brooklyn home this fall.