Now that summer is a distant memory, we must accept that winter will soon be grabbing at us with its icy cold fingers.
Getting yourself ready for winter is pretty simple: Retrieve your coats, hats, gloves, and scarves out of storage and wrap yourself up as much as possible before even thinking about breathing in any of that frosty air.
However, getting your house ready for winter isn’t as easy.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with some winter-prep experts that provided us with top-notch advice on how you can prepare your home for winter, sans the stress and overwhelming list of things to do And thus, we bring you, a simple guide on how to properly prepare your home for winter.
Simple guide to winter home preparation
1. Start at the top
Sage Singleton, a home maintenance expert forSafeWise, feels that your winter home prep should begin at the top of your house with a roof inspection.
Your roof is a vital (and major) piece of your home, and if things are failing with the roof during the winter, you’re going to find a lot of other problems on your hands.
“Don’t wait for the harsh winter months to see if the roof is leaking or has ice backup,” advises Singleton. “Ice backup forms in winter and is caused by poor ventilation or inadequate insulation in the attic.”
If you’re facing ice backup, you are facing something that is nearly impossible to get rid of.
Singleton asks that, when inspecting your roof, you look for:
- Signs of leaks
- Shingles that have curled or buckled
- Shingles that are missing or have cracked
- Loss of granule on the roof
Another expert stressed that ensuring your attic has proper insulation is also key. Andrea Woroch, nationally-recognized consumer-finance expert, refers to roofs as “energy vampires.”
“They’ll suck rising heat right out of your home, if not properly insulated,” says Woroch.
Proper insulation can come in the form of standard fiberglass, rigid foam board, spray foam, and cellulose.
So how do you go about upgrading your attic insulation?
“This is a project best left to professionals,” admits Woroch. And while it may cost a penny or two, she swears “it’s the best investment you can make to reduce future energy bills.”
2. Get down and dirty with your gutters
Gutters are integral to keeping water flow away from home. Thus, keeping them clear of things such as leaves and other debris is crucial to their proper function.
“If your gutters are clogged, they can cause water to overflow and flood your basement,” warns Singleton.
The best time to clean your gutters is during the fall, to make sure any leaves that have gathered in there are cleared out.
3. Prep those pipes
Chances are good someone at some point (likely your parents) warned you about pipes bursting in the winter.
Though you likely rolled your eyes at your parents’ nagging, this is one (possibly rare) situation in which you should have listened to what they had to say.
Dealing with pipes bursting is every homeowner’s nightmare.
Rather than learn from experience, we are going to help you avoid this nightmare by sharing with you words of wisdom not from your parents, but rather from experts.
“Allow a small trickle of cold water to run from your faucet,” suggests pros over at Mr. Rooter Plumbing. “This will keep water moving in your pipes [and] prevent freezing.”
Sounds simple enough, right?
There’s a bit more, but not too much.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing also shared with us that homeowners should “open under-sink cabinet doors to keep warm room air circulating around pipes,” as well as seal “external openings such as basement doors, windows, and crawl spaces . . . with weather stripping, caulk, and sealant.”
All this takes is a quick trip to your local hardware store, and a few great podcasts to listen to while you take on this easy, yet sometimes time-consuming task.
Another key part of winterizing your home’s pipes is to disconnect your outdoor hoses and drain any water in outdoor spigots before the weather gets too cold.
“If you have an automatic sprinkler system, drain it as well,” advises Singleton. “If the temperature will drop below freezing overnight, leave exterior faucets trickling to avoid the pressure buildup that causes pipe bursts.”
4. Block any incoming breeze
AGlass Doctor residential professional informed us that “the heat that homes lose through their windows can amount to 25% of heating costs.”
As if winter heating bills weren’t high enough!
In our book, it is definitely worth putting some time and effort into making sure that the doors and windows in our homes aren’t letting out heat, and letting in cold.
“The simplest remedy,” offers Woroch, “is to place draft dodgers or snakes at leaking doors.”
How do you go about finding those leaks?
Thanks to Woroch, it’s quite easy. “Place a candle in front of possible drafts, have someone blow through the crack from the other side, and watch to see if the flame wavers,” she suggests.
And, once you find leaks, you don’t even need “fancy” equipment to fix them.
Woroch offers up some great DIY options: “You can use an old towel or make your own easily out of a leg of pantyhose stuffed with rice or sawdust tied at both ends,” she says.
5. Send summer toys to winter storage
Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors and soaking up the sun while it lasts.
And, in order to enjoy that sun, you likely set up tables and chairs, and other furniture (maybe a giant flamingo pool float toy or two — we know we sure did) to get your Vitamin D fix.
And, you want to make sure that the cushions on your furniture (and your flamingo friend) stay in tip-top shape to enjoy again next year.
The best way to ensure that your summer toys last into next year is to pack them up and give Closetbox a call.
With Closetbox’s hassle-free pickup, professional storage movers can quickly and easily come scoop up your box of summer fun.
6. Keep it simpleWhile some of the above projects seem as if they’re on a bigger scale to-do list, we’ve also got a handful of simple things you can do around the house to make winter wear on you and your home not such a problem:
Let the light in
Residential specialists at Trane say to “open blinds and curtains during the day to let the natural warmth from the sunlight in to bring the house temperature up.”
The Trane specialists also suggest to “reverse your [ceiling] fan’s rotation to push cool air upward and mix with the rising heat. The mixed air will then spread downward, making your room feel warmer.
“Many of us think of changing our furnace filters just once or twice a year,” shares Woroch, “yet experts say we should replace them every month during the heating season. Better yet, switch to a permanent filter you can clean regularly.”