The holiday season will be upon us soon, and Virginia residents are preparing for Thanksgiving and their December holidays.  This is the time of year when people start making guest lists, writing their grocery lists, and planning out their days off so that they can enjoy time with their loved ones.  People are using this time to prepare for the holidays, but there’s something far more important home owners should be preparing for: winter.

Winter doesn’t just bring the promise of holidays and snow showers, they can bring some severe weather and temperatures that can do some major damage to your home if you aren’t prepared.  With the past unpredictable and harsh winters this state has had, you don’t want to take any chances this winter.  Low temperatures, ice, wind, and snow can be nightmares for homes that aren’t prepared for it, but there are some things you can do to ensure that your home stays in good condition until next spring.

Inspect your Furnace

Your HVAC system was working hard this summer, and you should take advantage of the less extreme fall weather and have someone come out to inspect your furnace.  After you ensure that your HVAC system is working properly, there are some other things you can do to make sure that runs well all winter long.  Make sure that your air filters and ducts are clean and free of dust and debris.  If a hot water radiator primarily heats your home, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and closing them when water appears.  Also make sure that you remove any and all flammable material that surrounds your furnace.

4 Winter Home Care Tips For Virginia Residents

Get your Fire Place Ready

Your fire place probably hasn’t been used since last winter, and you need to make sure that’s ready for winter activity before you light a fire.  It’s always a good idea to have a chimney sweep remove dirt and debris from your chimney to avoid extra smoke and problems.  Make sure that you have a screen or a cap for the top of the chimney to keep out small rodents and birds.  Also be sure to check your fireplace for cracks or missing bricks to see if you need to make a repair.

Inspect your Roof

Damaged or missing shingles can let in cold moisture and air during the winter months, so it’s a good idea to inspect your roof.  You don’t even have to use a ladder to see if you have any problems with your roof, simply standing on the ground and using a pair of binoculars to look at your roof should be enough.  You should also make sure that your gutters are clean and clear of leaves and other yard waste.

Improve your Insulation

If you want your home to stay warm and comfortable through out the year, insulation is key.  Some extra insulation in your attic can help make your upstairs warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer time.  Adding insulation can be easy, and affordable if you find the right company to handle it.   Have your local insulation installer come to your home and do some tests to see which areas of your home could use some extra insulation.  Their work won’t just help keep your home comfortable, it can save you a lot of money on your HVAC bills.