4 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

By HomeAdvisor

Updated November 18, 2016

Snow-covered home alight at night

Owning a home takes a lot of work, and one thing homeowners must do is prepare their homes for the cold winter season. There are often simple tasks and repairs that can be done to prepare your home for winter. When you are proactive about completing these repairs and tasks, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency, make it safer for your family, and maybe even lower your energy bills. It is a good idea to go through your whole home and give it a once over and then proceed to make any necessary repairs before the cold weather hits. Having a winter preparation checklist can be really helpful in making sure you home is ready for winter.

Cleaning the Furnace

When the cold weather comes, you want to be able to turn on the heat and warm up your home. Before turning your heat on for the season, the furnace should be cleaned and the filter should be changed. A build up of dirt and sediment can not only make your system work less efficiently, it can also be a fire hazard. If you are not comfortable cleaning your heating system, there are many companies that will come to your home to clean and inspect your system and ensure that it is safe for use. Throughout the winter, you should also change your air filter regularly. Dirty filters can decrease the flow of air and will be less efficient. When buying a new filter, look for an energy efficient model.

Seal Your Home

Winter can bring freezing cold temperatures and you want your home to stay warm. Before the weather gets cold, seal up any air leaks in your home. Sealing leaks will prevent warm air from escaping your home and causing your heating system to work harder, and can also keep cold air from entering the home. Caulk can be used to seal any cracks where cold air might enter, windows can be covered in plastic, and draft guards can be placed under doors.

Cleaning The Fireplace

If you heat your home with a fireplace, it is very important to check to flue. Ensuring that the area is free of creosote and soot can decrease the chances of a fire occurring. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should also be checked before using the fireplace for the first time. You should also check for drafts in your fireplace. If you can feel cold air even when the damper is closed, you probably have an air leak. You can seal the area by using a chimney balloon, or call a professional. Fireplace repairs should be done properly so that the risk of fire is not increased.

Outside Area

Along with checking the interior of the house, there are many things that can be done outside the home to prepare for winter. Checking and cleaning gutters is important. Chimney vents should also be checked to make sure there is no chance of animals getting in. If you have a swimming pool, it should be sufficiently drained and covered. Before winter arrives, you should also prepare the yard. Clean and store patio furniture in addition to hoses, sprinklers, and any other outdoor items. Clean up leaves and pine needles and place them in leaf bags or compost them. It is also a good idea to trim any big branches away from electrical wires and your home to prevent any damage in the event of a severe storm. Also be sure to check and replace any outside light bulbs as there is less daylight in the winter.

Taking the time to prepare your home for winter is important in maintaining a safe and sound property. A simple checklist or to do list can go a long way in helping you prepare your home for winter without forgetting any important steps. The following pages can help you further prepare for the winter season.

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