Preparing your home for winter can mean the difference between staying warm and being cold. Some weatherization procedures can also help you save money on heating bills or prevent damage to your home.
Ideally, you should start winterizing your home in the fall, but procrastinators can also utilize some of the following tips even after the snow starts to fly.
1. Check and Service Your Heating Source
Whether you heat with fossil fuels or wood, servicing your heating source before using it each year is imperative. Unserviced furnaces, boilers, and wood stoves may not just be inefficient, but they can also be dangerous. If you have a furnace or boiler, call a heating and air conditioning expert to look at it. Clean out your wood stove or fireplace, as well as all chimneys, to help prevent fires and carbon monoxide leaks.
2. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on each level of your home, as well as near every bedroom. Once they are installed, they should also be checked every month to ensure that they are working properly.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats can help you shave a decent chunk of money off of your heating bill each winter. These types of thermostats can be programmed to automatically lower the temperature in your home while you are away and turn it up again right before you come home.
4. Reverse Ceiling Fans
During the winter months, you should flip the switch on your ceiling fan to reverse the direction of the fan blades. When the blades spin clockwise, the warm air that has risen to the ceiling is pushed downward. Since the room will feel warmer, you won’t need to turn up your thermostat.
5. Winterize Windows and Doors
Most chilly drafts will enter your home through cracks and spaces around your windows and doors. Replace any cracked windows, and apply weather stripping and caulk around all of your doors and windows. You might also want to put plastic over your windows for added protection from cold winter air.
6. Move Furniture
Rearranging your furniture can help maximize your heating system’s efficiency. If your furniture is positioned in front of baseboard heaters or over floor vents, try to arrange it so that it’s not blocking the heat. If you use a wood stove or fireplace for heat, arrange the furniture in front of it for a warm and cozy winter seating area.
7. Insulate the Attic
Since heat rises, much of the warm air in your home could be escaping out of your home through your attic, especially if it isn’t insulated well. Laying down bats of insulation between the rafters in your attic can help keep your home warmer, lower your heating bills, and prevent dangerous sheets of ice from building up on your roof.
8. Protect Pipes
At the very least, frozen water in your pipes can result in no running water for your household. Most likely, though, since water expands when it freezes, it will cause your pipes to burst, which can be costly and damaging. Pipe insulation tubes or pipe insulation tape can be placed around your pipes to prevent this.
9. Clean the Gutters
Dirt and leaves that clog your gutters and downspouts will typically cause water to collect in them and freeze. Frozen water in your gutters can cause them to crack or break away from the house and fall. Be sure to remove gutter debris, and flush your gutters and downspouts with a garden hose before winter hits.
10. Prune and Trim
Gardening experts recommend pruning and trimming your shrubs and trees while they are dormant, or not actively growing. Most plants usually enter their dormant phase during the late fall or winter. Pruning your trees away from your house also lessens the chance that animals like squirrels and chipmunks will enter your home looking for shelter from the harsh winter weather.
11. Get Snow Removal Tools Ready
Keep snow shovels close at hand, and place a bag of rock salt next to your front door. Service any motorized snow removal equipment, like snow blowers, four-wheelers, and plows.
12. Prepare For Emergencies
Stock up on emergency supplies – just in case. Some things that you should include in your emergency supply kit include gallons of water, non-perishable food, candles, lanterns, and extra blankets.