5 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home

November 17, 2011

With the reward of homeownership there also comes the responsibility to winterize. It's around this time of year when there is more of a nip in the air, and morning due turns into frost that it becomes time to take a little inventory and do a few things around the house to help you settle in for the winter. Prevent Plumbing Freezes - Get your outdoor pipes ready for freezing temperatures by draining your hoses, making sure all outdoor plumbing is properly insulated, shutting off any water to outside pipes, and locate your water main so you can remember where it is in the event of a pipe burst. This way you'll be prepared to shut your water off at it's source if a need arises. If you go on vacation, keep your house temperatures at 55 to avoid problems with interior pipes. Check Outdoor Equipment - Put lawnmowers away for the winter, draining any gas and cleaning it up for easy use next year. Pull out the snow blower and make sure it's in good working order before the first snow. Check out the condition of your rakes, ice scrapers, and other fall to winter gear while cleaning and putting away the spaces, potting soil and other garden specific equipment. Check your supply of ice- melt and sand, replenish before everyone else is rushing to the stores, and if you have pets make sure you buy animal friendly ice-melt. Check Roofs, Gutters, and Downspouts - With temperatures that regularly fall below freezing consider adding extra insulation in the attic to prevent warm air from creeping from attic to roof causing ice dams. Check flashing and siding to make sure that water cannot get. Clean out gutters and consider installing leaf guards to help keep your gutters free of leaves and cut down on ice buildup by allowing proper flow from the gutters. Check downspouts and hose water through them to clear up any silt and debris buildup. Inspect Your Furnace - Have an HVAC professional in to inspect your furnace, and let you know if your ducts need cleaning. Programmable thermostats are great energy saving tools to set your temperatures lower during the day while you are at work and add a little more heat during the evening as temperatures outside fall and your home is in heavier use inside. Make sure you have enough furnace filters on hand to change them on a monthly basis. Make sure to change your ducts and vents from their summer position to account for heat rising. This will keep your home more evenly heated from bottom to top. Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces - There is nothing like the smell of wood fires in the winter coupled with family gatherings and chestnuts roasting. Make sure your chimney is inspected and in good repair. A professional chimney sweep can remove the soot and creosote buildup that can become dangerous over time. Check out your fireplace damper to make sure you can open and close it properly and completely. If you can get up on your roof, inspect the chimney cap and make sure it's properly screening the opening from squirrel and other small animal entry into your home. Lastly stock up on firewood and make sure to store it in a dry location. Just these few tips will help you get your house in winter ready condition. The more prepared you are, the less you have to worry about expensive fixes. After a little cursory inspection and preparation you can sit back and enjoy that hot cocoa and wait for the snow to fall. Image source: ©PhotoXpress.com
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