Although the last few days felt more like Spring than November in West Michigan, winter is definitely on its way. It won’t be long until the chilly temperatures and lake-effect snow begin to affect the residents along the Lake Michigan coast.
With the weather staying above freezing for the time being, it’s a great time to prepare your home for the breezy and frigid Great Lakes winter. With so many homes perched along the shores of Lake Michigan and other bodies of water like Lake Macatawa, the winter winds can have a harsh effect on your utility bills too.
Here are some important steps to take that will help protect your home and keep your winter costs down too.
Your heat and cooling system needs to be inspected and cleaned every year to keep it running efficiently and to ensure it uses less energy. Although you can do it yourself, it may be best to have a proper inspection done by a professional HVAC technician.
During a professional inspection, a tech will also test for dangerous carbon monoxide or gas leaks so paying a little extra to hire a professional is well worth the cost.
Installing a programmable thermostat can have a big effect on your utility bills. Programmable units can lower your beat during the day when no one is home, and then raise the temperature again when the family gets home.
You can also set the thermostat to lower your furnace during the night when everyone is asleep. Giving a little control over to the programmable thermostat can have a big effect on your bills, immediately lowering the amount of gas or electricity your furnace needs to do it’s job.
Many of the programmable thermostats on the market today are inexpensive and easy to install, making it possible to reduce your costs without the need to hire a professional if you’re handy with a screw driver.
If not, pay a pro to get it done – you’ll recover that cost in no time.
Ice Dams can build up when leaves and debris prevent water from rain and melting snow from running off the roof. The ice wall that builds up on the edge of the roof then prevents any future snow melt caused by heat escaping through the roof from draining at all.
Water builds up behind the ice dam, backing up underneath the shingles and leaking into the home. Leaking water entering the home can damage ceiling materials like drywall, insulation, and in worst cases, can cause problems with electrical systems.
To prevent ice dams, clean out your gutters of any leaves and debris and ensure they drain properly. Clear downspouts and make sure they will not be blocked by snow. You can also install heat tape and other systems on your roof’s edge to prevent ice dams from forming, but your gutters must drain properly to prevent other damage from occurring.
Ceiling fans do a great, low cost job of circulating air through your living spaces. In the winter, reversing your fan’s direction can pull heat down from where it collects in higher places and recirculate that warmer air through you home.
Most fans have a simple switch on them to change the spin of the blades, change it that direction and you’ll save some energy. You may even see enough change that you will be able to turn your thermostat down a degree or two.
Whether your summer tools have water systems or not, it’s important to prepare mechanical devices for the winter season.
For all lawn and garden tools that run on gasoline, it’s extremely important to treat any fuel in your gas cans or in the engines themselves for long-term storage. Gas deteriorates over time, which happens surprisingly fast. The fuel begins to loose its volatility, or its ability to produce energy, in as little as three months.
Stagnant fuel can also slowly turn into a substance like varnish, coating the inside of carburetors and clogging off fuel lines and other engine parts and making it impossible for your engine to run properly.
Purchase a storage treatment product like Sta-Bil and treat all gas cans and gas tanks on mowers or generators to prevent expensive repairs. Just be sure to run the engines after the fuel has been treated to ensure the carburetor and fuel lines are protected too.
For other equipment, spray any moving parts like cables and linkages with WD-40 or CRC 656 to prevent corrosion or rust from building up and ensure those parts work properly when the warm weather creeps back in to the West Michigan lakeshore.
As the holidays near, some homes may see an increase in foot traffic between their driveways and front door. Whether adults or kids, family and friends arriving for holiday visits or family celebrations may use walkways that don’t normally see much use during the summer months.
It’s important to trim sharp, pointed branches at eye level away from walkways to keep your guests safe this winter. Trim back sharp points, but also look for tripping hazards that might get covered by snow.
No one wants to see Aunt Edna go sprawling in the snow with her famous 7-Layer Dip and chips spread around her. Spend a few minutes with some hedge clippers and help protect keep your visitors from harm.
There are plenty of other tasks that can help keep your home warm and dry, lower your utility bills, and protect your family from injury over the chilly Michigan winters. Check sites like HGTV, This old House, The Spruce, and others for great information and product recommendations that will keep your home warm and dry and your family protected all year long.
If you are considering a move in 2021, whether to be closer to your job, to get away from the cities, or to move to one of the beautiful West Michigan towns like Holland, South Haven, or Spring Lake, please reach out to the experienced team at the Andrea Crossman Group and let us show you around the wonderful places we all call Home.