How to Prepare Your House for the Winter
As Jon Snow loves to remind us, “Winter is Coming!” But is your house ready for the onslaught of sleet, snow and sub-zero temperatures coming at it?
Many people don’t give this question much thought, but ignoring these winter-proofing details can result in colder temperatures in your home, higher electricity bills and, in some cases, actual damage to your house.
We’ve gone ahead and put together a handy winter-proofing checklist for you to follow.
Windows and Doors
These are the most critical areas to double-check since it’s where the majority of your precious heat will be lost if there’s issues.
- Make sure you check all the weatherstripping around your windows and doors to make sure the seals are tight and none of it needs to be replaced
- It’s a good idea to replace your screen doors with storm doors — this will create an extra layer of air that serves as insulation and keeps your house toasty
- On the same token, replace outside screens on windows with storm windows
- If you have wooden door frames or window frames, give them a good once-over to make sure there isn’t any rot or decay. If water is able to seep-in then freeze during the winter, you’ll be in for some trouble
- Go to each window and door and check for drafts. If you find some, apply caulking to fix the issue
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Your HVAC system is going to be working hard for you throughout the winter. Best to make sure it’s running smoothly.
- Make sure your furnace filter is clean and up to date — 95% of furnace issues stem from a dirty filter. General rule of thumb is to change it every 3 months
- If you have a fireplace, check it for drafts. If it’s still cold even though the damper is closed, you might have an issue that needs to be resolved
- Furnaces provide heat, but the air tends to be dry. Make sure your humidifier is clean and replace the evaporator pad if need be
- Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order
- You could also check any exposed ductwork for leaks, plugging any with tin-tape
Backyard, Lawns, Gardens and Decks
A little up-front yard work before the winter can save you countless hours of headache come spring.
- Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires. The last thing you want is ice build-up on the branches causing damage or a power outage
- If you want your lawn looking tip-top come spring time, it’s best to aerate it, reseed and then apply a winterizing fertilizer
- Double-check the grading around your house. You want to ensure that rain and melted snow drains away from your home
- Give your patio furniture a good scrubbing (and make sure you dry it thoroughly) and then cover it up with a heavy tarp if it’s going to be left outside
- Clear the soil out of your potters and bring clay and/or glass pots inside, since freezing can cause them to expand and crack
- Shut off exterior faucets and make sure you bleed the lines or you could face burst pipes when the deepfreeze comes
- Make sure you get rid of pine needles, dirt and leaves left between the boards of your wooden deck to make sure mold doesn’t form during the winter
Roofs, Drains and Gutters
Often overlooked, it’s important to make sure your roof and drainage systems are ready for the onslaught of snowy weather.
- Damaged or warped shingles on your roof can be trouble so make sure to inspect them. Otherwise, water can get behind them and freeze
- Check your gutters to make sure they’re clear of debris, especially wet leaves that could freeze and create damage
- Make sure all your vents and openings are covered to stop small animals and insects from getting inside in an attempt to nest somewhere warm