Organizing your home for winter can seem like an annoying and perhaps unnecessary chore. However, taking some time to winterize your home has financial benefits that will outweigh the annoyance. Winter heating costs can skyrocket if your windows are poorly insulated, your plumbing breaks, or if the heating system is out-of-date.
A faulty heating system can lead to possible fire damage. If your plumbing is not prepared for the winter, you could be surprised with water damage. Ensuring your home is prepped properly can save you a nice chunk of change while protecting your property for years to come.
Break It Down
Looking at a giant to-do list is overwhelming. To save frustration, break it down into two or three jobs you can tackle over the next three to four weekends. You can make things even easier by dividing the job among the family. Assign each person a room to inspect and report back on whether it's ready for winter.
Follow these three steps to be sure your home is ready for the winter:
#1: Prep the Plumbing
- Drain the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses and arrange to have any in-ground sprinkler pipes blown out. This will prevent them from freezing and busting during cold nights.
- Roll up the garden hoses and store them inside.
- Identify any "problem" pipes that are prone to freezing in the house and consider using heat tape to keep them warm during extremely cold weather.
If the worst happens, ensure everyone in the family knows how to turn off the water at the source. This will minimize leaking when and if a pipe bursts.
#2: Heat Things Up
Everyone enjoys cozy evenings by a crackling fire. Ensure your fireplace is ready to provide warm nights all winter. Be sure to have the chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional annually.
Also, have a professional perform a routine check of the heating systems before cold weather arrives. This should include vacuuming the vents and other heating components.
If your furnace has a filter, check to see if it needs replacing. For more energy savings, consider installing a setback thermostat that keeps the home cooler when you are asleep or away.
#3: Seal the Leaks
Keep drafts to a minimum this winter. Not only can poorly insulated windows lead to precipitation leaks, but it can also cause your heating bill to increase. Be sure to check if each window is properly sealed. If you have them, install storm windows and doors.
- Add or replace worn weather stripping around the doors and windows and caulk any gaps.
- If doorstops are worn, replace them.
- If any pipes or ducts travel through an exterior wall, be sure to use caulking and weather-stripping around all entry points.
These steps will block any potential entry points for cold air.
Additional Tips for Winterizing
Since it is better to be safe than sorry, here are a few other things to consider when prepping your home for winter weather.
- Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean and draining properly, and make sure water doesn’t pool on the ground. Water should drain away from your home’s foundation.
- Close vents that may have been opened for warm weather.
- Prune trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
- Call a landscape professional to trim tree limbs near your roof and power lines.
- Check the walls, attic, and other areas for adequate insulation.
- Make sure attic insulation doesn’t cover ridge and eave vents. This will help prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
- Check around electrical outlets and switches for cold air and insulate where necessary.
Should you still experience damage to your home due to water, fire, or storm damage, Mr Restore stands ready to help. We are available 24/7 to take your call and arrive to your property within 60 minutes. Stay warm this winter!