Winterizing the Home

Preparing your home for frigid winter temperatures during the fall is important for homeowners. Many of the steps below can be completed over a single weekend during the fall. And in doing so, you will be able to lower your energy bills, prevent property damage, and keep your family safe. Here are 20 tips to ready your home for winter.

  1. Stop slips – Ice can form quickly and unexpectedly. Keep your driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice with sand or underground heating elements.

2. Keep warm – Maintaining an interior temperature of 65 degrees or more will help keep your home functioning properly and keep your family warm too.

3. Seal cracks – Look for openings around the home where cold air can leak in and seal them with weatherproofing caulk.

4. Test detectors – Home fires occur more often in the wintertime. Check your smoke detectors as well as any CO2 detection systems to keep your family safe.

5. Remove hoses – Detach and store all outdoor hoses and cap off each hose bib with an insulating end cap to prevent cold air from seeping into your walls.

6. Protect piping – Wrap piping exposed to the cold with insulating sleeves to prevent freezing and potential bursting.

7. Clean gutters – Frozen water inside your gutters can create ice dams which can damage soffits and the gutters themselves while preventing water or snow melt from properly draining.

8. Clear the yard – Debris under a blanket of snow will become a hazard for anyone who ventures outside and treks through your yard. 

9. Replace filters – Check and replace any dirty filters used in your heating elements, water purifiers, or air conditioners to maximize their energy use.

10. Insulate outlets – Surprisingly, a large amount of cold air seeps in through electrical outlets. Add outlet insulation to seal the dozens of gaps in your home.  

11. Switch ceiling fans – Many may not know the reversing the direction of your ceiling fans can circulate warm air throughout the home without creating a draft.

12. Install door sweeps – If weather stripping is not enough, consider slipping door sweeps on door bottoms to reduce air flow between rooms.

13. Clean the fireplace – Prepare your fireplace for now before the temperature drops so it is clean and ready when you need it most.

14. Flush water heater – More hot water is used in the wintertime. Flush your water heater to improve its efficiency and reduce power costs. 

15. Protect your plants – There are many plants that cannot survive freezing temperatures. Bring them inside or cover them with plastic for protection.

16. Add attic insulation – Consider beefing up the insulation in your attic by adding additional layers of insulation to increase your R value.

17. Check heating system – Have your heating system inspected by a professional to make sure it is in tip-top shape and performing as efficiently as possible.

18. Add emergency releases – A deep freeze can penetrate some of the toughest piping insulation. Consider installing emergency release values to relief pressure in pipes if they begin to freeze.

19. Replace weather stripping – Check the seals around exterior door and window to make sure there is a strong, tight seal and replace those that are worn or damaged.

20. Install a programmable thermostat – Smart technology can make sure your house is toasty when you are home while also minimizing energy costs when you are away.