Cold, winter weather can cause homeowners to realize they've made critical mistakes when preparing for the cooler temperatures. Here are eight mistakes that often cost home owners a lot of money.
1. Not protecting outdoor faucets. For less than $2 at most home improvements stores you can purchase faucet covers that protect outdoor faucets from freezing temperatures. Frozen pipes can break and cause leaks. No one wants a flooded basement or crawl space.
2. Ignoring the fireplace and chimney. When was the last time you had your chimney swept? Fires of winters past leave buildup in your chimney which can make this years' fires a smokey affair. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected regularly to prevent major damage.
3. Skipping the furnace inspection and tune-up. Your HVAC system should be tuned up and inspected at least annually. Ideally, you should have your furnace tuned up in the fall before you need it for the winter season and your air conditioner should be inspected in the spring before you need it for the summer.
4. Letting cold air come in. Check around your windows doors, dryer vent, and fireplace for gaps that may be letting air in. Caulk or install weather stripping to block up any holes you find.
5. Forgetting your gutters. Gutters should be cleaned of dirt and debris after every storm. Blocked gutters will prevent water from draining properly and when frozen, the ice can be heavy enough to bring the gutters down. If your gutters are not redirecting water away from the house, that means they're letter water settle onto the foundation. Foundation repairs can be very expensive.
6. Not wrapping pipes. Any pipes in unheated areas of your home like the garage should be insulated.
7. Not buying a programmable thermostat. A thermostat that you can program for when you're home and lower the temperature while you're at work can save you hundreds of dollars over its lifetime.
8. Under insulating. Insulation in your attic can make a big difference in keeping you warm this winter. Invest in extra insulation now and reap the benefits all year long.