Winter can be hard on both your wallet and your house. Protect your hard-earned dollars and prepare your home for winter with these fifteen simple winterizing tips.
Ranging from ways to conserve energy to how to prevent damage from the elements, these are all simple and effective ideas for making your house snug, efficient and safe this winter.
Insulation is important
1. Insulate your hot water heater with a thermal blanket. Hot water heaters waste energy like crazy, so make yours more efficient by insulting it with a thermal blanket, especially if your hot water heater is in a garage or unheated area.
2. Add insulation to crawlspaces and attics. Heat rises, so if your attic isn’t well insulate expect to waste a lot of energy this winter. Lay down an extra layer of insulation and instantly lower your heating bills.
3. Cover your pipes. Exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Avoid water damage and a huge plumber’s bill by wrapping pipes with towels or blankets.
Keep out the cold
4. Keep your caulking gun handy. Cracks around windows, vents, mail chutes and electrical outlets can let cold air directly into your house. Keep your home snug this winter by filling in any gaps to the outside that air can seep through.
5. Update your windows. Prepare home for winter by installing energy efficient windows, which should pay for themselves faster than you think. If this isn’t an option, at least replace summer screens on doors and windows with an extra layer of glass to double your protection against the cold.
Heating smart means heating less
6. Install a programmable thermostat. With an easily installed programmable thermostat, you can lower your house’s temperature significantly at night and still wake up to a warm bedroom.
7. Put in a carbon monoxide detector. Furnaces and gas fireplaces can produce toxic carbon monoxide gases. Install detectors carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal placement.
8. Call your local chimney sweep. Blocked chimneys don’t provide proper ventilation and can lead to fires. Trust a professional for this sooty winterizing task and ask him to inspect the damper while he’s at it.
9. Check your furnace for flammables. Make sure that you haven’t inadvertently stored any flammable materials near your furnace over the summer. This seems basic but a lot of house fires start this way.
Don’t forget about outside
10. In the garden. Drain all garden hoses and remove nozzles or sprayers. Plants will be slightly warmer next to your house’s walls, so if you can’t move potted plants inside at least scoot them closer to your house and cover them with a blanket.
11. Preserve your lawn furniture. Clean off your patio furniture and store it in a basement, attic or garage. Winter conditions can ruin even the sturdiest outdoor furniture.
12. Stop cracks before they get worse. Cracks in cement or asphalt will become bigger when water seeps into them, freezes and expands. Patch cracks before the cold weather hits.
13. Protect your lawnmower. Drain the gas from your mower and store it somewhere safe from the elements.
14. Have the basics. Make sure to have a snow shovel, rock salt and any other tools you need to deal with snow and ice around your house.
15. Get your snow blower ready. Take your snow blower in for a pre-winter tune up to prevent getting a nasty surprise on a cold, cold morning.