Winterize Your Home (It’s Not too Late!)
Across the U.S.’s 50 states there is a wide range of winter weather patterns and temperatures. But even if the average temp in your state only falls into the 60s during winter, there are still things you can do to lower energy bills, prevent weather-related disasters, and even keep your home in tip-top shape for sale in the coming season. Afterall, your home is an investment that’s worth looking after!
If you live in a climate that regularly sees freezing or sub-zero temps…
1. Clean out gutters. Clearing debris out of gutters will prevent ice dams and hanging icicles. If you have the budget for it, install gutter guards for a long-lasting solution. Make sure water drains at least five feet from the house to avoid flooding and foundation problems. And finally, check gutters and downspouts are properly secured—heavy snow and ice can pull gutters off a house.
2. Clear hanging branches. Trim tree branches that overhang your house or walking paths. Like gutters, branches can break and fall under the weight of ice and snow and cause damage or injury.
3. Tend to hoses. Remove attached garden hoses, drain and store them, and shut off valves to outside spigots. You can also cover any outdoor faucets and spigots to prevent water and ice damage.
4. Protect pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and cause a huge and expensive headache. Insulating pipes can be as easy as purchasing foam insulation sleeves at your local hardware store.
5. Install an emergency release. An emergency release valve protects your plumbing system against increased pressure from freezing pipes. Even if you don’t install an emergency release, learn how to shut off the water and know where your pipes are.
6. Insulate the attic. If you haven’t visited your attic in a while, now is a good time to ensure it’s properly insulated, well-ventilated, and holding at about 10 °F warmer than the outside temperature.
7. Seal cracks. Cracks leak heat, which increases your winter energy bill. Caulk holes, openings, and cracks and consider installing weather stripping around windows, doors, air conditioners, and even mail chutes, if you have one.
8. Flush the water heater. Particle and sediment buildup in your water heater can lower its efficiency. Flush water through its drain valve to clear it out.
9. Deter rodent move-in and live-in damage. Closely examine your home’s exterior, basement, and garage for any possible entry points. Spaces where pipes, wires, or ductwork enter the house are favorites for tiny rodents. You can eliminate these entry spaces with close-fitting wire mesh, caulk, rodent-proof spray foam, or steel wool
If you live in a warmer state (you can still do those things listed above, but also these)…
1. Set ceiling fans to spin clockwise. This will circulate the warm air that rises to the ceiling back down to where you’re sitting on the couch. This can mean you don’t need to turn the thermostat up high or even at all!
2. Spot any decay. Examine wooden window frames for rot or decay, due to high humidity or water damage, and replace.
3. Prep the lawn. Aerate, re-seed, and apply winterizing fertilizer for deep-root growth and a healthy, green spring!
4. Protect patio furniture. Even if you’re not expecting snow, cleaning, drying, and properly storing patio furniture during the months you won’t use it will extend its life.
5. Save pots and planters. Pots made of clay or other fragile materials can swell and crack in colder temps, so bring them inside for storage.
6.Do a deck inspection. Now’s the time to look for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter. Prevent mold and mildew growth by cleaning out leaves, dirt, and pine needles from between the boards of wooden decks.
7. Prep air conditioners. Remove window air conditioners or cover with insulated liners.
8. Close up the pool. Clean out pool storm drains and cover all vents and openings.