Read on to discover how to get your home ready for winter to keep your home from deteriorating in the chilly weather here.
Winter is America’s least favorite season. According to a poll that was conducted a few years back, only about 7% of people say that they prefer winter over the other three seasons.
And you could argue that no one dislikes winter more than homeowners. The cold weather that comes along with winter forces many of them to crank up their heat and spend a small fortune on their energy bills. It also forces them to dig their snow shovels out of the garage and get to work.
If you own a home, getting ready for winter ahead of time can make the season slightly more tolerable for you and your family. You can eliminate some of the stresses that come with the winter season by taking the right steps.
Here is how to get your home ready for winter in no time.
- Schedule Service for Your Heating System
- Inspect the Weatherstripping on Windows and Doors
- Reach Out to a Chimney Sweep
- Clean Out Your Gutters
- Drain the Water From Your Sprinkler System
- Test Out Your Snowblower and Load Up on Rock Salt
- Make Sure You Get Ready for Winter Long Before It Starts
- 14 Frequently Asked Questions to Read Before Winter Kicks in
- 1. When is the last time you’ve checked the attic?
- 2. How do you prevent ice dams?
- 3. Why should you check the roof?
- 4. What do you have to do with the pipes?
- 5. Do you also take care of the faucets?
- 6. Do drains need attention?
- 7. How do you care for the drains, though?
- 8. How do you tackle the gutters?
- 9. Are the doors and windows essential to take care of?
- 10. Have you considered using a window film for the winter?
- 11. Do you leave the air conditioners at the window or not?
- 12. Have you disconnected the hose just yet?
- 13. Do you have a fireplace?
- 14. Do you leave the heat on when you’re not home?
Schedule Service for Your Heating System
Unless you live in a part of the country where it gets cold almost all the time, there’s a good chance that you don’t use your home’s heating system in the spring, summer, or most of the fall. It sits idle until you fire it up in the winter.
So before you give it a go and try to use it to heat up your home, you should call on an HVAC company to come out and take a look at it. They’ll check out your heating system to make sure it’s in good shape and point out any repairs that they would recommend.
You can make your heating system more efficient as a whole by having it serviced. You can also extend its life overall and avoid having to replace it sooner than you should have to.
Additionally, you might be able to learn some useful winter heating tips when you work with a reputable HVAC company in your area.
Inspect the Weatherstripping on Windows and Doors
All of the windows and doors in your home have what’s called weatherstripping on them. It’s designed to keep hot air out of your air-conditioned home in the summer and cold air out of your heated-up home in the winter.
The problem, though, is that weatherstripping can begin to break down over time. When it does, it can let air leak into your home and wreak havoc on the temperature in your house.
Inspect all of the weather-strippings in your home to see if it might need to be replaced. If it does, replace it right away to stop cold air from working its way into your home all winter long unimpeded.
Reach Out to a Chimney Sweep
Do you happen to have a fireplace in your home? If so, lucky you! You can use it to heat up your home in the winter while keeping your energy costs on the lower side.
But just like with a heating system, you shouldn’t fire a chimney up as soon as the winter starts without having it serviced by a professional first.
Instead, call on a chimney sweep to come out and clean your fireplace and your chimney. They can remove any creosote that has built up in your chimney over time.
Creosote is a chemical compound that could potentially start a fire inside your chimney if you’re not careful. That fire could spread to other parts of your home and cause a catastrophe if it spirals out of control.
You’re better off having your chimney cleaned at the start of every winter, even if it’s not in that bad of shape. It’ll reduce the chances of a fire starting in your home.
Clean Out Your Gutters
If your home has a lot of trees—or frankly, even just one or two trees—in its general vicinity, your home’s gutters might be loaded up with leaves or needles towards the end of fall. Part of getting your home ready for winter will be cleaning this debris out of your gutters.
If you don’t remove debris from your gutters, it’ll prevent rainwater from moving through them smoothly. This will, in turn, cause water to build up in your gutters, and that water could very well freeze once winter kicks into high gear.
This could put your gutters at risk of falling off your house. It could also lead to the formation of ice dams and large icicles, which could both be bad for your house.
Drain the Water From Your Sprinkler System
You don’t want to let water freeze in your home’s gutters in the winter. You also don’t want it to freeze in your sprinkler system.
It’s essential for homeowners with sprinkler systems to drain out all the water. You will likely want to call on the pros to come in and shut your sprinkler system down for the season.
Test Out Your Snowblower and Load Up on Rock Salt
Are you the proud owner of a snowblower? It might come in handy this winter when you’re getting ready for a big blizzard.
Test it out and have it serviced in advance of winter so that you’re not scrambling at the last second to do it. Load up on rock salt while you’re at it, too, so that you can clear your driveway and walkways of snow and ice all winter long.
Make Sure You Get Ready for Winter Long Before It Starts
Winter starts around the same time every year. This means there’s really no excuse for you not getting ready for winter in advance.
Once September and October roll around, you should begin making the proper preparations for the winter season. By using the tips found here, you can ensure your home is ready to go this winter.
It might get cold and snowy outside. But you and your family can stay nice and toasty as long as your home is ready for whatever winter might throw at it.
Find out more about maintaining your home throughout the year by browsing through all of the articles that we have on our blog.
14 Frequently Asked Questions to Read Before Winter Kicks in
When you own a house, you know that winter vacation is great until your heating doesn’t work anymore. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so getting your home ready for the winter takes a lot more than decorating for Christmas.
You don’t necessarily need to do some shopping, though, but you do need to do your bits and bobs about preserving your household for the cold weather. The next FAQs are one point to get you started.
1. When is the last time you’ve checked the attic?
It may not make sense for many, but having proper ventilation in the attic is essential, as you want the temperatures to be close to the outdoor temperatures. Efficient ventilation is what reduces the risk of “ice dams.” They’re made by the snow melting off the central area of your roof, running down, and refreezing at the roof’s edge.
When ice builds-up, it blocks water from draining. Therefore, the water will be forced underneath the roof, right into the attic, and inside your walls.
You also need to take care of the floors inside the attic. It’s not only efficient ventilation that counts, but also proper insulation for the attic floors. Once again, you want to keep the temperature cold so that the melting snow on the roof doesn’t become an ice dam.
2. How do you prevent ice dams?
Having proper ventilation in the attic is just one thing that you can do to prevent the development of ice dams. You also need to clean the gutters and to provide appropriate insulation for the attic floor. Make sure that the roof will not collect too much snow so that the weight of the snow doesn’t ruin it.
3. Why should you check the roof?
Check the roof for any missing/damaged flashing or siding. Should you skip any damage, the water and ice will end up in your home. If your roof needs any repairs, it’s wise to do it before the snow comes in.
Most of the roofs out there can take four feet of fresh snow. As new snow collects pretty fast, you want to scrape it off so that no damage will occur to the roof. Go shopping for a roof rake before it’s too late.
4. What do you have to do with the pipes?
It does make sense that the cold temperatures damage the pipes. The risk for them to freeze and break is quite high, as the pressure makes them too cold. It would help if you protected the pipes from the cold weather, and leaving the doors of the cabinets open containing the pipes is one thing. Look for insulation sleeves for covering the exposed pipes as well.
Anywhere in your house where heating is sparse (crawl spaces or the garage) should be checked to see if the pipes are protected. You can also use some heat tape around the pipes that pose a risk for freezing. When you’re not protecting the pipes in any way, the water inside will freeze, making the pipes crack, burst, and expand.
5. Do you also take care of the faucets?
Another thing you need to do to protect the pipes in your home may seem like a waste. As having broken pipes is a problem expensive to solve, keeping a tiny trickle of water flowing from the faucets doesn’t seem that expensive. You should leave the water running a bit, especially if you’re going away from home for some time.
The water must keep running through unheated/unprotected spaces during the winter. And it’s not going to increase your water bill as much as you think.
6. Do drains need attention?
It takes a lot of responsibility to own a household, and you should always be prepared. Take time and check the drains carefully outside your home. Fundamentally, they don’t get clogged from debris. Once drains are clogged, the melted snow will not have a place to go, making water traveling underneath your house’s base and right into your basement. Next thing you know, you have flooding to take care of.
7. How do you care for the drains, though?
When there’s a lot of snow, it may collect on the outside steps of your house. Grab a shovel, some salt, and even an ice pick if necessary. It’s not only the ice posing a danger for you and your family; now may also lead to moisture intrusion and water damage.
Now it’s an excellent time to place a mat in the entryway so that no snow is coming in and damaging the hardwood floors.
8. How do you tackle the gutters?
You don’t want a big snowstorm to hit you hard, so having gutters free of any debris is one thing to do before winter. Ice dams can also develop when sewers and drains are clogged, making water to back up and freeze and end up seeping into your house.
Now it’s an excellent time to find out the leaks and misaligned pipes in the gutters. Removing and replacing plaster or drywall is a lot more expensive than keeping the gutters clean at all times.
9. Are the doors and windows essential to take care of?
Even if the tiny cracks in the windows and doorways don’t look like a big deal, they’re all means for air (hot air you want to stay in the house) to escape from your home. And once warm air escapes, you keep the heater running and the energy bill high at the end of the month.
You should start early and check the entrances and exits in your house where air may escape. Should you find any cracks, it’s better that you fix them with some caulking (it’s a solution especially for stationary, like doorframe) or weather stripping (it works better for anything moving, such as windows or doors).
10. Have you considered using a window film for the winter?
Preparing the house for the winter also means finding a way of keeping the hot air inside your home. Window film is one way to do it, and a kit of this kind contains plastic shrink film that you apply to the indoor window frame. You need to use double-stick tape and a heated hair dryer for shrinking the film so that it can stick to your glass.
This trick is essential for underground regions such as basements or uninsulated areas in your home.
11. Do you leave the air conditioners at the window or not?
It makes perfect sense for many, but we should highlight that it’s fundamental to remove the window unit air conditioners. Now only that they would let a high amount of warm air escaping from your home, but they also become unstable from the snow. They can also damage the siding when they get too heavyweight.
And if the units aren’t safely installed in place, they can also end up falling, causing injuries to anyone passing by.
12. Have you disconnected the hose just yet?
It’s not only the pipes and faucets that you need to protect but also the hose you use for watering the garden. It would help if you disconnected the hose as it may freeze over the winter, expanding and making the pipes burst.
But that’s not going to be enough. To make sure that no pipes will freeze and leak throughout the winter, you also have to shut off the water valves for outdoor spigots.
13. Do you have a fireplace?
Having a beautiful fireplace in the house is very cozy, but you need to make sure that it has the appropriate ventilation. It would help if you only light up the fireplace after checking it and cleaning it by a professional. A blocked, cracked, dirty, and leaking chimney can make the fire polluting the air inside your home.
Don’t start the fireplace season until you’re 100% sure that everything is clean and not clogged.
14. Do you leave the heat on when you’re not home?
It’s not good news for people with a tight budget, but it’s essential to leave the heat on even when you’re not home. We know that leaving the heat on seems expensive, but when you turn off the heat, the pipes may end up freezing and bursting. Have you checked to see how pricey it is to change pipes around the house?