Prepare Your Home For Winter - 10 Tips

When leaves are falling you know colder weather can’t be far behind. Without proper precautions, freezing temperatures and harsh elements can wreak havoc on your property. Here are the best tips to prepare your home for winter.

Prevent drafts. According to the experts at Do It Yourself, your first line of defense is sealing cracks, gaps and holes in your home. Leaving air leaks allows cold air to come in, lowering your home’s energy efficiency and making it feel drafty. Save money on your heating and cooling bills all year and increase your comfort by installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows. Damaged or very old, leaky windows may require coverage with plastic sheeting. Home improvement stores and hardware stores sell shrink wrap material that allows light in but seals over those drafty windows.

Windows and doors. According to experts cited by Bob Vila, it’s important to replace screens in windows and doors with storm windows and doors. You should also inspect wooden window frames for signs of deterioration and repair or replace them as necessary. Some experts recommend adding thermal curtains to help insulate against winter’s chill.

Heating system. Have your heating system serviced and inspected by a professional before using it this winter. A certified technician will ensure your furnace is running properly, helping avoid breakdowns during cold snaps. Also you should replace air filters every 90 days and clean air vents and returns. If your heating system is fueled by propane or oil, top off the tank before winter. You also should consider installing a programmable thermostat. You can set the thermostat to be warmer during the hours you are home and lower the temperature while you sleep and when you are out during the day.

Insulation. Proper insulation in your home helps your heating and cooling system run more efficiently by maintaining a more consistent temperature in your home. Older homes are particularly well-known for needing better insulation. Some experts advise having a professional inspect your home to see if you could benefit from an upgrade. Blown-in insulation is especially efficient and can be used in home designs that make installation of sheet insulation difficult.

Plumbing. Allowing pipes to freeze and burst could cause extensive and costly damage to your home. Water lines in unheated areas such as crawl spaces and attics should have added insulation to prevent freezing. Cover outside spigots with protective cases and remove and drain garden hoses. Shut off water to irrigation systems, fountains and sprinklers and drain the lines. Remove any residual water from the lines with compressed air.

Roof. A damaged roof can mean ice and leakage during winter, quickly leading to costly deterioration of your home. Remove remaining leaves, sticks and other debris from your roof. Inspect your roof for any missing or damaged shingles and make repairs. Clean debris from gutters to prevent damage from accumulating ice.

Landscaping. Cut branches back that overhang your house and electrical wires to prevent them from falling and damaging property when ice is heavy or wind is strong. Aerate your lawn, reseed grass in weak areas, and apply a winterizing fertilizer for deeper root growth next spring.

Deck and patio. Inspect your deck for signs of damage or decay and make repairs as needed. Remove debris to prevent mildew and mold buildup. Clean, dry and store outdoor furniture or cover it with a tarp.

Pool. Winterize your pool properly and cover the pool to protect children, wildlife and pets from tragedy. According to the experts at Aqua Magazine, the safety of a protective cover can also have the added benefit of being part of your outdoor decor. Consider adding a cover that works well with your landscaping and style. Covers now come in a pleasing array of textures and colors, making them not such an eyesore through the chilly months.

Winterize your home. With the arrival of fall you know winter can’t be far behind. The harsh weather and frigid temperatures can mean damage and costly repairs to your property. Take steps to prepare your home so you can rest easy this winter.