Preparing Your Home for Winter
Winter can be absolutely stunning, but it can also put serious strain on your home. Cold temperatures can freeze pipes, snow pileups can damage your roof, holiday guests can strain your plumbing, and poor insulation can run up your electric bill. Fortunately, there are countless ways that you can prepare your home for winter and everything it brings.
From clearing the gutters to installing new furnace filters and everything in between, knocking out this homeowner's winter checklist PDF (145kb) will help you keep your home warm and running efficiently this winter.
Winter Home Maintenance Tips
Winter is one of the toughest seasons when it comes to maintaining your home. Fortunately, once you know the best strategies, they can be implemented fairly easily. Check out these winter home maintenance tips.
If you live in a colder region, your energy consumption usually goes up during the winter. Here are some tips that can help you save energy in the fall:
- Winterize your air conditioning units. Remove any window AC units and store them in a dry location.
- Tune up your furnace. Hire an HVAC professional to thoroughly inspect your furnace to prevent unexpected issues and keep it functioning properly all winter.
- Protect your water heater. If your water heater is in the garage, use an exterior watertight blanket to retain the heat.
- Install new furnace filters. Changing your filter monthly in the winter helps keep your furnace running efficiently when it's needed the most.
- Reverse your ceiling fans. The counterclockwise direction is used in the summer to push down cold air. Reverse the blades' direction in the winter to recirculate heat and take a load off your heating system.
- Inspect windows and doors for drafts. Find the source of the leak, then seal it with new weather stripping or caulking or hire someone to help you fix your windows.
- Insulate air ducts. Air duct insulation is important for ducts in the basement, floors, and ceilings. It helps to regulate temperatures by preventing hot air from leaking out of the area. Hire an HVAC expert to make sure the job is done right.
- Close the blinds. Use heavy fabric curtains over the windows to keep the heat in. Blinds can also assist with heat retention.
- Insulate your attic. Consider adding more insulation to your attic, if needed, to reduce heating bills.
- Buy a smart thermostat. Today's smart thermostats learn your routines, automatically turning up the heat as you get home from work and back down again when you normally go to sleep. And if you leave and forget to turn the thermostat down, you can adjust it from anywhere with a phone app. The team at Mr. Electric can help you properly install a smart thermostat.
The changing weather at the start of fall is your cue to do some basic seasonal cleaning. Here are some tips for keeping your home clean during fall:
- Clean the chimney. Get your chimney cleaned if you rely on a fireplace or a wood stove for any portion of your heating needs.
- Store your hoses. Drain your garden hoses and store them in the garage or a covered area. Shut off exterior water spigots
- Clean your windows properly. When cleaning windows in freezing temperatures, mix one part rubbing alcohol, one part water, and a few drops of your preferred dish soap. Apply the mixture to your windows using a spray bottle or sponge and use a squeegee to remove streaks. Never apply hot water to your windows in cold weather. The heat shock can cause them to crack.
Frigid temperatures can lead to safety hazards and equipment malfunctions. Protect yourself against both by following these tips:
- Prevent pipe freezes. Do so by insulating exposed plumbing pipes and know where your water main shutoff is in case of emergencies. On particularly cold days and nights, leave your taps dripping to reduce the likelihood of a freeze. Mr. Rooter can help if you’ve already fallen victim to frozen pipes.
- Check your detectors. Install and test carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. Test the alarms regularly to protect yourself and your family from this silent killer.
- Stay pest-free. Secure dryer vents and air intakes to prevent animals and pests from entering your home for warmth.
- Prevent damage from snow and debris. Remove debris from flat roofs or roof valleys where leaves or snow can collect. Address tree hazards that could pose a risk to your home during heavy snow or strong winds. Remember to call professionals like The Grounds Guys to help address tree hazards.
- Protect your foundation. Clean debris from gutter downspouts and ensure water is directed away from your home's foundation.
Call Neighborly for Help Preparing Your Home for Winter
Do you need assistance with any of the home maintenance items on your list? We're here to help. Call us today or download the new Neighborly app to explore our services and connect with a local home service pro.