As the days continue to get shorter and the evenings grow colder, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for the unpredictable months of winter in New England. There’s no denying that the first snowfall of the season could be right around the corner. Instead of letting it surprise you and your vulnerable home still in “summer-mode,” why not be proactive? Take the coming winter months head-on with a “winterizing” checklist to ensure the smoothest, most worry-free winter possible.
By following these basic guidelines, enjoying a warm, crackling fire inside while watching the falling snow paint your yard and home in layers of glistening white will be relaxing instead of stressful. From simple cleanups and storage to insulating your windows and doors, “winterizing” your home with these five steps will keep it in great condition, save you money on home repairs and make all your concerns melt away.
A Winter Wonderland
Let’s start with the yard. It’s important to do the obvious—rake any leaves, remove debris, and cover and store any patio furniture that can be damaged in the cold weather. When thinking of the possibility of heavy snowfall, make sure to trim back any branches that are hanging over the roof or home’s exterior. This will protect not only your house, but your own safety, as well. Eliminate other summer supplies such as the garden hose, and drain out the sprinkler system. Pipes bursting are a common worst nightmare for homeowners in the winter. The DIY Network advises using heat tape on certain exposed pipes to help lessen the chances of this occurring. As you continue to tidy up around the yard, don’t forget to clean out the central air conditioning unit before covering for the season.
Up on the Rooftop
The roof is perhaps the most vulnerable part of the home’s exterior throughout the chilling winter months. Without clearing any autumn debris, the weight of a heavy snowfall could stress the roof, causing potential damage. The Huffington Post also strongly suggests cleaning out gutters to combat any deterioration of siding, foundation and ceilings, which could ultimately affect your entire home, and result in thousands of dollars in home repairs.
Heat it up
When thinking of combating the winter, the first thing everyone always thinks of is a way to keep warm. According to About Home, in order to guarantee the greatest heat in the most energy-efficient setting, it’s important to check your thermostat, and inspect your furnace to make sure everything is working properly. Replacing the furnace filter is also strongly suggested. Additional warmth can be conserved by scanning your house for areas where warm air can escape such as holes or cracks. The basement ceiling and attic floor are two areas that should be well insulated.
Heat it up… Naturally
Starting a fire seems like the most logical way to naturally heat up your home without increasing the electric bill. It’s not just about flicking a match, though. Before starting your home fireplace, make sure to inspect its interior for any debris or obstructions such as nests, squirrels or other animals. About Home also advises you to check that the flue damper opens and closes properly. If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned by a professional in a few years, it might also be a good idea to hire a chimney sweep to verify that all is set before lighting the first fire of the season.
Windows and Doors
Don’t let a cold winter draft enter your home. With the installation of weatherstipping, Zillow claims that you can save up to 20 percent on heating bills. Place the weatherstripping along doorjambs and between gaps and cracks in your home’s windows. This will prevent cold drafts, and help to keep you warm and cozy all winter long. Fixing drafty doors can also be done with flexible rubber strips known as door sweeps, which can easily seal the gap at the bottom of your door.