Older houses are very attractive choices for prospective homeowners – they are often substantially cheaper to buy than new properties, and they come with a lot of charm and character.
However, owning such a place comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is preparing everything for winter weather. After all, wear and tear or common negligence over the years can take their toll on an old house, and if you’re not careful, you could end up dealing with some serious (and expensive) problems come wintertime.
To help you out, below, you’ll find a few vital tips that will ensure your old house is ready for whatever winter throws its way. From servicing your HVAC to ensuring your plumbing is in good working order, these tips are meant to be universal, meaning they can be applied to any old property – no matter its size, age, or location.
Read on and make sure your home is as prepared as it can be for the cold months ahead!
1. Check the HVAC System
Your HVAC system is one of the most important components of your home, and it needs to be in good working order before winter hits. After all, you don’t want to be dealing with a broken furnace or boiler during a blizzard or cold snap – that would be not only inconvenient but also potentially dangerous.
So, what can you do to ensure your old house’s HVAC system is up to the task? Service it. If you believe you have the necessary skill set to do so, then you can save some money by performing maintenance on the system yourself.
However, it’s safer to hire local heating experts to do it for you – these people usually have years of experience and are much more likely to spot potential problems before they cause any real damage.
2. Examine the Roof
Despite being one of the most crucial parts of any house, roofs are often neglected by homeowners – and that’s especially true when it comes to older properties. So, before winter arrives, it’s important to inspect your old home’s roof and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
If you find any missing or damaged tiles, make sure to replace them as soon as possible. Intense winter weather can wreak havoc on a roof that’s in poor condition and cause loose tiles or shingles to come flying off, potentially injuring anyone who happens to be walking or standing nearby.
Also, check the gutters and downspouts and clear them of any debris that might have accumulated over the summer months. Doing so will ensure that melting snow and ice can drain properly, which will help to prevent any water damage from occurring.
Finally, make sure that your roof isn’t leaking – even a small leak can quickly turn into a much bigger problem if it’s left unchecked. If you do find any leaks, have them repaired immediately by a professional roofer.
3. Make Sure the Plumbing is in Good Working Order
Like your HVAC system, your plumbing is another vital component of your old house that needs to be in good working order before winter hits. A burst pipe or clogged drain can quickly turn into a nightmare scenario, so it’s important to be proactive and take care of any potential problems before they have a chance to cause real damage.
When inspecting your plumbing, make sure to check all exposed pipes for any signs of leaks or cracks. If you find any, consider replacing your old pipes with new ones to guarantee years of worry-free use. However, even if you don’t have the budget for it, not all is lost – in many cases, you might be able to seal small cracks and leaks with silicon tape or epoxy putty.
4. Take Care of Your Exterior Wooden Surfaces
Old houses often have beautiful wooden features on the exterior, such as porch railings, shutters, or siding. However, these surfaces are particularly susceptible to damage from the elements, so it’s a good idea to take care of them before winter arrives. This step is especially important if your old house is located in an area that experiences a lot of snowfall or ice storms.
To protect your wooden surfaces, start by giving them a good cleaning – this will remove any dirt, grime, or debris that might be present, which will help the varnish adhere better.
Once they’re clean, apply a fresh coat of paint or sealant, and make sure to pay close attention to any cracks or crevices. Doing so will create an extra layer of protection and help to keep your wooden surfaces looking great for years to come.
5. Clean Your Fireplace
Older homes often have fireplaces, which can be a charming and cheap way to heat your place during the winter months. However, before you start using yours, it’s important to give it a good cleaning. Otherwise, you might end up dealing with a chimney fire, which could potentially damage your home or even put your life at risk.
If you are planning to use the fireplace on a regular basis, consider buying smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and placing them near the fireplace. That way, you’ll be alerted immediately if there’s a fire hazard, and you should be able to take action before it gets out of hand.
6. Insulate the Windows for Winter
Poorly insulated windows are some of the biggest sources of heat loss in older buildings. If the previous owner of your old house didn’t take care of them, then you might want to consider replacing them with new, more energy-efficient solutions.
If you’re not ready to make such a big investment or you want to preserve the traditional look of your place, there are other options available.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to insulate your old house’s windows is to re-caulk them. You can also install weatherstripping or plastic film over the glass to create an extra barrier against the cold.
Please consider hanging thermal curtains – these will help to keep the heat in and the cold out, potentially saving you a lot of money on your energy bills over the winter months.
Preparing an old house for winter doesn’t have to be a daunting task – as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can get everything ready in no time.
Take care of your HVAC system, examine your roof and plumbing, and make sure all of your wooden surfaces are properly protected. Also, don’t forget to clean your fireplace and insulate your windows – both of these things are crucial if you want to stay warm and comfortable all winter long.
Following the tips above will help to ensure that your property is as prepared as it can be for whatever Mother Nature throws its way. So, don’t wait – get started on your winter preparations today!