Winter maintenance can prevent damage to your home and can make your home more energy-efficient, saving you money over the long term. Take the time to make sure the interior and exterior of your home is ready for the colder months.
Here’s your handy list below to help for winterizing your home. Our county is so large, some of these items will pertain more to parts of the county than others. Put in the effort today and start creating your to-do list. Some items are simple DIY tasks and others may require a professional.
Doors, Windows & Attic
These tasks can be simple DIY projects that can keep your home toasty and warm without having to crank up the heat. If you have an older, drafty home, this is a definite for you.
- Add or replace weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep out drafts.
- Caulk around windows where cold air gets in.
- Switch to heavier curtains or shades during the wintertime to help keep rooms warm.
- Insulate your attic and look at the benefits of cellulose insulation over fiberglass.
Before you sit by the fire, you’ll want to double check our list below. You don’t want to have any nasty surprises or create a fire hazard.
- Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney.
- Close the damper when not in use, but don’t forget to open it before lighting a fire.
- Cap or screen the top to keep out rodents and birds seeking refuge.
- Buy firewood and store if away from the exterior of your home. Many creatures like to make woodpiles their winter home.
- Consider getting a gas fireplace if you have a gas line. They look much more realistic than ever and are easy to switch on and off.
Furnace, Ducts & AC Units
No one wants to wake up in a bitter cold home. Do these now so you can relax over the winter.
- Hire an HVAC professional to inspect and clean your furnace. Better yet, have a contract with a company that you can contact in case of an emergency outage, so that they’ll respond more quickly since you’re a dedicated customer.
- Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly. Can’t make it to a local store or buy bulk at Costco, you can order these online to be delivered to your door!
- Drain air conditioning pipes and turn off its shut-off valve if you have one.
- Hire a professional to inspect ducts for leaks in their joints; and have them cleaned if necessary.
- Ducts in cold spaces such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces should be insulated.
- Cover or remove and store window AC units.
These easy tasks can go a long way in saving energy and convenience.
- Buy a programmable thermostat that allows you to set temperatures lower when you’re not at home or sleeping. There are so many smart technology options out there when it comes to thermostats so shop around.
The outside of your home is where winter weather can do damage. Get these outside tasks done right now.
- Take the time to make sure gutters and downspouts are cleaned out thoroughly of leaves and debris. Water can freeze causing them to detach from your home. This can also cause major water damage to your home!
- Trim tree branches that hang too close to your home or electrical wires to avoid causing power outages.
- Cover outdoor furniture or store it inside. Do the same with sensitive potted plants.
- Seal foundation cracks to prevent mice sneaking in.
- Sometimes eco-friendly composite decks and stairs can be slicker and more hazardous when ice forms from the moisture in our air. Be careful since it might not be obvious!
Power Failures & Severe Weather
When a storm hits, some neighborhoods lose power. Be ready with these tips.
- Store flashlights, a first-aid kit, and extra batteries in easy-to-reach locations. Consider getting some battery-operated candles instead of real candles to prevent any fire risk.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged if a storm is forecasted.
- Keep extra water bottles, nonperishable food (for babies and pets too!), blankets and necessary medications on hand.
- Depending on where you are in the county, consider getting a generator if your home or neighborhood loses power more often. It could be worth the money and might be needed if you have small children. Place the generator at least 20 feet from your house.
- Find the phone numbers and website of your utility companies. Post it somewhere for easy access.
Make sure your home doesn’t have any unsuspecting hazards. I’ve already mentioned cleaning your chimney and getting your heating units inspected, but there are other steps to include on your list.
- Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
- Install a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas, which causes headaches, nausea, and disorientation. Check batteries monthly.
- Be careful with space heaters. Make sure you don’t leave them on and don’t use extension cords.
- Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
- Do not heat your home with a gas range or oven.
- Never run a car or truck inside an attached garage.
I hope you’ve found these tips a helpful way to enjoy a safe, cozy, and happy winter!
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