Smart Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter
Ensure your house is ready for cold weather, snow and ice.
Winter weather is here. Preparing now for snowfall and icy winds can prevent energy bills from drastically heating up while keeping your biggest investment safe from Old Man Winter. Here are some smart DIY home maintenance tips to help ensure your house is ready for the cold, snow and ice.
Prepare the Exterior of Your Home
Inspecting, cleaning, and protecting key areas of your home's exterior can go a long way in preventing cold weather damage. Start by checking the chimney, vent pipes, gutters, skylights, and shingles for damage. Look for deterioration or missing pieces and weak adhesion. Repair, replace, or fasten weak areas with appropriate tools and supplies. For example, you could use roofing cement and a caulking gun to reseal areas around skylights to prevent leaks.
Then, make sure to clean areas of debris to prevent potential damage that may come with the weight of snow or ice. Remove leaves from gutters, downspouts, and pool storm drains. If you don't already have proper gutter covering to keep out leaves and other debris, head to your local home improvement store and purchase coverings. Make sure you grab enough supplies to cover vents and openings.
Don't forget to trim tree branches. Ice, winds, or heavy snow could cause them to snap and fall on electrical lines, your home, or other property.
Finally, protect parts of the exterior that can cause the most damage if left vulnerable to the harsh weather. Give special attention to faucets, decking, and entryways. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Protect pipes by draining outdoor pipes and wrapping faucets.
- Treat wooden outdoor spaces, like decks and pergolas, with a water repellent seal after you've cleaned them and made any necessary repairs. Be sure to read weather seal instructions since most should not be applied once outside temperatures fall below 50 degrees.
- If your entryway has steps, make sure you have sand or ice melt ready to apply, as needed. This can help prevent falls. Tighten hand railings and inspect or install lighting to help keep walkways safe.
Keep the Cold Outdoors
Similar to the exterior of your home, checking, cleaning, and protecting key indoor areas can go a long way in preventing cold weather from coming inside. Start by looking for ways heat might escape your home. The usual suspects include fireplaces, windows, and doors. Apply fresh weatherstripping or sealants to areas with exposed ducts to prevent cold air from entering your home.
Apply extra insulation in often neglected areas, such as behind switch plates and wall outlets. These small foam coverings can keep warm air from escaping your home.
Stay on Schedule
Regular home maintenance makes preparing for winter less time-intensive and costly. Add frequent checkups to your calendar. Schedule time to test, and possibly replace, smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries every three to six months.
Don't let costs prevent you from protecting your home this season. You might be eligible for state assistance to improve the energy efficiency of your home. We've included links to these and other valuable resources below.