Winters are a beautiful time of the year. The snow-covered trees and the crisp air remind us of the joy that comes with this season. But unfortunately, winter weather and our houses don’t bond together well. Snow and ice can send shivers down any homeowner’s spine. They can cause frozen pipes and energy-inefficient drafts that can wreak havoc on your home (and wallet).
And the slippery driveway – even though this is an expected winter hazard, it’s still something that can dampen your holiday spirit.
So, it’s important to winter-proof your home. It will help protect your home against the elements and save you money in the long run. Here are some essential things you can do to get started:
Inspect Your Roof
Your roof is a brave soldier that stands guard against the elements. But there’s only so much it can take before needing help. Regardless of the type of roof, flat or sloped, it must receive some TLC. Leaves and other debris can pile up and cause water to collect in the eaves and valleys of the roof. It can lead to a leaky roof or ice dams, damaging the roof and interior of your home.
So, inspect it for missing or damaged shingles, and check around the chimney, vents, skylights, and other exposed roof areas. If moisture starts seeping in, you’ll be looking at roof repairs and possible replacement.
Most importantly, ensure the roof drains are unblocked so that water can freely flow away from the house.
Secure Windows and Doors
Do you feel a sharp chill when you walk by your windows and doors? If so, it’s time to check for any draughty spots. These are the areas where cold air enters your home, making it difficult to keep warm.
An effective way to check whether you have a problem is to light a candle and move it around the suspected area. If the flame flickers, you know where your problem lies.
Caulk any gaps or cracks you find around your windows and doors. You can also add weatherstripping around the door to further seal off any drafts. Once you’ve addressed any issues, you can add window treatments and heavy curtains to keep the cold out.
Clean Your Gutters
Your gutters are the unsung heroes of your home. They keep water away from your house and direct it to the ground, thus protecting your roof and walls from water damage. So, remember to give them some love this winter.
Clean any debris or leaves that have accumulated in the gutters and downspouts. You can use a ladder and gloves to get the job done. A leaf blower or a pressure washer can come in handy as well.
If you’re feeling especially brave, you can install gutter guards that keep the gutters clog-free. There are several gutter guards, but the micro mesh ones are phenomenal. They keep out leaves, twigs, and even little critters.
Insulate Your Pipes
Frozen pipes are another winter woe. The water inside the pipes can freeze and expand as temperatures plummet, leading to a burst pipe. You’ll be looking at extensive damage and expensive repairs if that happens.
To keep this nightmare at bay, insulate any exposed pipes in your home. Foam or fiberglass tubes are a great way to protect pipes from freezing.
If you don’t want surprises in the shower, insulate near the water heater too. It’s also wise to keep the heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, just in case.
Pay Attention to the Attic
Your attic is the ultimate temperature regulator. It’s responsible for keeping your house cool in summer and warm and cozy in winter. So, ensure it’s well insulated and has adequate ventilation. Also, check for gaps or cracks around the attic windows, doors, and other openings.
Most importantly, pay attention to the insulation in your attic. You’ll spend more on energy bills if it’s not up to par. Fiberglass batt insulation is great for keeping in the warmth, and foam insulation is excellent for sealing off any drafts.
Winterize Your Yard
Your landscaping is also vulnerable to the elements. As a result, the once lush garden and the lawn may be a mess after winter. To prevent this, take care of your plants before the first snowfall.
Mow the lawn one last time, clear any dead leaves and debris from the garden, and mulch the soil. That will help keep it fertile for when spring rolls around. You should also check the trees and shrubs in your yard for any broken branches. Cut them off before they can cause damage to your home or put any passersby in danger.
Cover anything made of wood, metal, or fabric with a waterproof tarp or sheeting. They’ll be safe and ready to use when the snow melts. Also, store your lawn mower and other machines in a locked shed or garage.
Test Run Your Heating System
We are sure you have your fleece blanket and hot chocolate ready for the cold winter months, but what about your heating system? Don’t wait for a chilly night to get it running. Instead, test it out now and make sure everything is in order.
Change or clean the air filters, inspect the vents to see if they’re clogged with debris, and check the blower wheel for any dirt or blockage. If you have an old furnace, now’s a great time to upgrade to an energy-efficient model. Not only will that save you some bucks, but it’ll also keep your home warm and cozy. Again, we recommend hiring a professional to do the job.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
In addition to your furnace, you should invest in a programmable thermostat. This device will allow you to set a schedule for your heating system. That way, it’ll run at optimal efficiency, and you won’t have to worry about constantly adjusting it. It’s also great for saving energy, as you can turn down the heat when no one is home. To pick the best thermostat for your home, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and hire a professional to complete the installation. They’ll cover all the basics and show you how to use it properly.
Winterizing your home doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. With some know-how, the right tools, and a bit of elbow grease, you can protect your home from the cold weather. The trick is to start early and take small steps. With that approach, you’ll save yourself some shivers and a lot of money. You can even call in a professional to help. They’ll ensure your home is winter-ready and safe for you and your family.