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Extreme winter weather events can cause a lot of damage to your property. Even some relatively minor issues can become huge problems when the cold season strikes. It’s highly recommended to get your home prepared for the winter using reliable methods to withstand any damage risk from heavy snow, frigid temperatures, or ice.
Having your home properly winterized allows you to get some peace of mind when the winter comes. You can prevent property damage and personal injury but also gain some extra benefits such as reduced energy costs. Even if you prepare cozy blankets and warm sweaters, it’s safe to say that you also need to get your house ready for the cold.
Check out the best ways to properly winterize your home down below.
1. Get Your Plumbing Ready
Having a burst pipe is probably the most common winter issue for many homeowners. Repairs are costly and difficult so it’s best to prevent this kind of situation by preparing your plumbing system for the winter. If you live in Northern states, housing codes require proper insulation and protection against freezing temperatures. However, if you’re from a warmer area, the regulations aren’t as strict.
Even if the chances for an extreme cold snap aren’t very high, it’s better to prepare your pipes just in case. Without reliable insulation, your plumbing system is very vulnerable. It doesn’t take more than a few days to experience severe damage. Effective insulation of your pipes is recommended to keep the system warm and ready for a harsh winter.
Another aspect to keep in mind is checking for blockages in the pipes. A plumbing system that’s properly maintained may not be as susceptible to having burst pipes from the frost. It’s recommended to inspect your plumbing system for any blockages or cracks. Garden hoses or sprinklers outside should be disconnected to prevent any freezing. If you’re still worried about pipe damage in the winter, consider getting specialized sensors to detect important indicators such as temperature and water leaks.
2. Insulate the Attic
An uninsulated attic will cause heated air from your house to escape affecting your energy costs in the process. If you’re concerned about keeping your home warm in the winter, it’s safe to say that you need to focus on adding some reliable attic insulation such as blown-in insulation. Make sure you caulk all the crevices that might let out heat. Even if you just add one extra layer of insulation, it can make a considerable difference for efficient home winterizing.
3. Keep the Gutters and Roof Clean
The debris accumulated on the roof during the fall can contribute to some problems in the winter such as ice dams. Dead leaves and wood debris might clog the gutters as well as penetrate under the shingles causing water leaks inside. Maintaining the roof and gutters spotless represents a critical step when it comes to the successful winterizing of the home.
What’s the best way to keep the roof clean? Consider using a dedicated tool for the job like a broom. If you notice that gutters have to be cleaned very often, perhaps it would be a smart idea to invest in gutter protectors that filter out debris more effectively. Avoid using a garden hose to spray dirt from the roof because there’s a risk of water infiltration or further icing problems.
4. Check the Furnace
The furnace in your home should be checked regularly to ensure that it’s working within expected efficiency parameters. Although it might be hard to form a habit for a furnace check-up, it’s highly recommended to do it. A professional HVAC inspection can appear costly but it’s important to keep the furnace in proper working order for successfully winterizing a home.
Other components of the HVAC system of your home should also be inspected. Depending on the time of the last check-up, it may be necessary to replace the filter of the furnace or air conditioner. It’s critical to discover any leaks or other issues with your furnace before the start of the winter season. Go for more comprehensive check-ups if your furnace is really old.
5. Make Use of a Programmable Thermostat
Upgrading to a more advanced thermostat featuring programmable features could be a great decision for winterizing your home. Smart thermostats are also recommended because you’ll be able to manage the heating more efficiently. This kind of device lets you set schedules to optimize the temperature at home according to more specific needs.
Even small adjustments can make a difference when it comes to cutting down on heating costs. For example, you should consider setting up the thermostat to lower the temperature at night because you will be able to enjoy a more restful sleep. Smart thermostats bring some extra convenience into the mix. They allow adjustments with the help of a mobile phone app.
6. Apply Window Coverings
Heat can get lost in many different ways throughout the home. The windows are particularly vulnerable in that sense. Make sure you opt for some reliable covering options to reduce heat loss. There are specialized insulation kits for windows that you can use. Most of them are designed with practicality in mind but some options are also great in terms of aesthetics.
Another great solution to prevent heat from escaping away through the windows in the winter is to get thermal drapes. The added thickness maintains the temperature inside the home higher compared to typical summer curtains. Aside from winterizing the home, this method is useful to reduce heating costs as well.
7. Block Air Leaks
The presence of drafts in your home can be a huge problem when it comes to preparing your home for the winter season. Air leaks tend to happen near windows or underneath doors. It’s best to use a detector tool such as this model from Amazon if you want to be thorough when dealing with drafts. Blocking any kind of air leak is recommended to prevent energy waste and keep your home warm more efficiently.
Invest in weather stripping or draft snakes that can be placed in areas where air leaks are found. Some cracks and crevices near the windows might be more difficult to block effectively unless you caulk them from outside. Make sure you also take a close look at the spot where the piping system exits your foundation.
8. Inspect the Fireplace
If you have a fireplace in your home, it should also be included in your winterizing preparations. Inspect it closely to see whether you can discover any air leaks or flue efficiency problems. The fireplace is supposed to create warmth indoors but sometimes it can bring in more cold air from outside. It’s recommended to install a cap on the top of the chimney as well as mount doors in the front of the fireplace for superior sealing performance.
9. Reverse Ceiling Fans
This is a budget-friendly solution for wintering your home that’s very easy to apply. Simply make the ceiling fans move clockwise to circulate air more efficiently. This is useful to prevent all that precious warm air from sitting only close to the ceiling. Although it won’t make a huge difference for your energy costs, it can contribute to overall savings.
10. Prepare Your Winter Tools
When it comes to winterizing the home, it’s important not to forget about dealing with snow and ice. Check your old snow shovels and brooms or any other tools you may have in the garage. If they’re not in good condition, consider replacing them to face the problem of walkways or the driveway being covered in snow. Make sure you have an ice chopper like this one on Amazon to keep the surroundings of the home free of dangerous ice.