2020 is the year to line up your home’s annual winter preparedness projects well ahead of winter.
It’s always a good idea to do projects like these before they become a necessity: there is surely no worse time to try to get a heating system serviced than during winter’s first severe cold snap.
But these are more challenging times than usual: one of the effects of the pandemic on American homeowners is the difficulty of finding and hiring contractors and suppliers. Many small businesses have been affected negatively by the health and economic crisis, and the home industry is especially severely impacted. So, this is the year to work to get your home winter-ready long before the first snowflake flies.
Dan DiClerico, home expert for Home Advisor, shares his list of the important winter preparedness projects.
He points out that COVID-19 has made us more aware of the importance of good indoor air quality.
“When you change you heating system’s air filter this year, consider upgrading the filter,” DiClerico says.
“Going from a one-inch filter to one measuring two to five inches thick can make a big difference in your home’s air quality.”
A heating system service call costs and average of $150; to upgrade the furnace filter, add $50.
A further improvement to your home’s indoor air quality comes from installing exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. For a more thorough cleaning, install a whole-house air cleaner. Tying into an existing HVAC system, it scrubs the air of particulates. The average cost is $1800.
“Satisfaction rates among consumers are extremely high,” DiClerico says.
Another purchase he recommends is a generator.
“They start at $400 for portable units, but generators that automatically come on when the power goes out range from $1,000 to $6,000,” he says. “When you think about the costs incurred when you lose power, the investment is worth it.”
Frozen pipes are among the bad things that can happen when the power goes out.
“A single burst pipe can cause damage costing upwards of $5,000,” DiClerico says. “Insulated sleeves that wrap around the pipes and give quite a lot of protection can be installed for under $100.”
If you live in snow country, ice dams can cause roofs to leak. Usually, they are the result of inadequate insulation in the attic, something that can be easily remedied. A roll of insulation costs about $20.
One winter preparedness project that calls for professional help is trimming dead or overhanging tree branches.
“Wet, heavy snow can break branches and cause property and even physical damage,” DiClerico says. “But tree work is dangerous and should not be undertaken by DIYers.”
Professional tree services start at $700.