We all have seen how the weather can take a toll on a home. Over the years, wind, rain, heat, and cold can reduce your home’s efficiency, deteriorate the outside, and cause landscaping to be washed away. All that damage leads to more money out of your wallet; but with planning and forward thinking, a little money up front may save you a lot more in the long run.
Let’s start with the wind. If your home faces northeast, north or northwest you are susceptible to cold winter winds entering your home. Cold drafts in your house make the heating work harder and your energy bills rise. The first thing to do is to look for any light that shines through your doors’ weather stripping or window seals.
A more accurate way is to put a dollar bill under your doors and windows. If you see the bill moving, air is still making its way into your home. New weather stripping around doors and caulking around windows is an easy do-it-yourself project to seal out that cold winter wind.
Spring brings heavy rains and severe storms. Water that doesn’t flow away from the house can eventually bring problems to the foundation and landscaping. Homes with gutters need to make sure the downspouts drain roof water away from the yard to a lower elevation. If they don’t then a French drain from the downspout to a lower area makes good sense.
If you don’t have gutters, a trench lined with rock in the lowest area of your yard will work well, but a French drain under the rock will make for a pleasant looking rock feature that serves both drainage and visual appeal. If the water still pools in your yard, consider a flagstone, river rock and Mondo grass makeover. While most prefer the green of a summer yard, a little expense on the front end with stone drainage will ease up on mowing and fertilizer, saving you time and trouble in the end.
Come the summer, a well-insulated house can help quite a bit. Consider checking your attic for total insulation coverage. Some newer homebuilders use a spray-on foam insulation that coats the interior attic roof with several inches of foam insulation. Also, just like winter, make sure your doors and windows are sealed.
You don’t want your air-conditioning seeping into the summer air. Smart thermostats are always a good idea, and most are programmable from your smart phone. Keep the temperature at 76-78 degrees when no one is home and program it to start cooling down before you arrive home—again, a small additional price up front will end up saving you money.
In the winter, in addition to sealed windows and doors, be sure to cover all exterior faucets with protective covers to keep them from freezing. Store water hoses and furniture cushions away from the rain and snow. This will extend their life.
And one more note—make sure you change your return air filter once at least every 3 months. Maybe even more often in the spring when pollen is at its highest concentration.
These are mostly common-sense tips—and with a little expense, you’ll benefit in the years ahead, enjoying a comfortable home protected from Mother Nature.ν