Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

Are any of us truly prepared to take on another Iowa winter? The holidays are fun, but after all the commotion and excitement dies down, the cold, dark winter lingers on for a few more months. In Iowa, that means trudging through snow, early morning ice scraping sessions, bitter winds, and dangerous driving conditions. Homes can also suffer from the effects of winter. Make sure your house is prepared early on so you can sit back and relax in comfort this winter.



3 Ways to Winterize Your Home

#1. Clean and Inspect Your Chimney

Have your chimney inspected and cleaned before you use it this winter. If you don’t, the creosote that built up last year could catch fire due to its high combustibility. Your fireplace should be cleaned at least once every year. Make a habit of getting the job done before the holidays every year.

Even if you don’t have a traditional wood-burning fireplace, most heating systems and appliances ventilate dangerous flue gases through a chimney. If your chimney can’t properly ventilate gas (such as the very poisonous carbon monoxide that is expelled from furnaces) you could put your entire household at risk.

Make sure to also have your furnace inspected every year and change your furnace filter every one to three months. All smoke detectors should be in proper working order, and you should have a fully functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test all batteries often, and replace them a couple times every year. These small preventive measures could someday save your life.


#2. Weatherproof Doors and Windows

Keep out the drafty winter air by weatherizing your doors and windows. Add weatherstripping and caulking where necessary to more effectively keep the precious heat inside where it can keep you cozy. Aside from windows and doors, check electrical outlets, cables, air vents, the entrance to your attic, and your fireplace/chimney. These areas could be letting in drafts or allowing heat to escape.


#3. Check Your Insulation

Remember that warm air rises. The heat being pumped out of your vents into your house will rise to the ceiling. If your attic isn’t well insulated, heat can escape from your living space, rising into your attic and out through the roof. What a waste! Don’t let this happen. Check your attic insulation, or have a professional come out to determine whether it’s sufficient.

Apart from making your home uncomfortable, forcing you to crank up the heat, and raising your monthly energy bills, other serious problems can also result from a lack of proper insulation. These may include ice dams, condensation in the attic (which can leak into the house), water damage, and other moisture-related problems such as mold, mildew, and rot.

Your attic isn’t the only place that needs to be properly insulated. If walls and the pipes aren’t kept warm enough, the water running through your pipes could freeze, potentially bursting the pipes and causing extensive and costly damage. If your pipes are located in a particularly cold part of the house, you can purchase insulated sleeves to cover them and keep them from freezing. As a general rule, NEVER set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees during the winter, even if you're leaving for an extended period of time. Letting the interior of your home get too cool makes it more likely that your pipes will freeze.


Quality Insulation Products in Polk County

Hedrick Construction is located in Huxley, about halfway between Ames and Ankeny. Let us know if you need your Story or Polk County area home insulated this winter! Download our free eBook for more great tips and helpful information for the fall and winter.