Sadly, there’s no denying that winter is here. The daylight hours are short, the cold weather has me hunkered in by 5 p.m., and it’s not unusual for us to be in bed by 8:30. Womp womp womp. We live in an older home and it just feels like no matter what I do, I’m always cold in here!! So this year we decided to take some steps to winterize our home before the holidays so that we could enjoy a cozier Christmas. Winterizing your home can help lower your energy bills, prevent costly repairs later on, and reduce the risk of accidents like a home heating fire. We have tips to help prepare your home inside and outside to keep everyone safe.
How to Winterize Your Home
- Windows and doors: Prevent chilly drafts (and pricey heating bills) by checking and replacing any worn weather stripping and caulking any cracks. For loose-fitting doors, slide a draft guard or rolled-up towel underneath to fill the gap. For old or drafty windows, consider peel-and-stick window insulation film – it might not be the most elegant look, but it can keep up to 70% of heat from escaping.
- Fireplace: Check your fireplace and flue system to remove soot or ashes. Check for cracks that could be a fire hazard. Also, examine the fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may need to be repaired or replaced. If you’re not planning on using your fireplace at all, invest in a chimney balloon to block the opening. (Just remember to take it out before you build a fire next season.) Most importantly, know what fixes are safe for you to tackle and what should be in the hands of a certified chimney sweep with training and proper equipment.
- Furnace: Before you turn up the heat for the season, start by changing (or cleaning) your furnace filter. It’s also a good idea to have an HVAC professional check your furnace once per year. And if you can’t remember the last time you had your heating ducts checked for leaks and efficiency… an HVAC professional can help with that, too.
- Gutters: Start by clearing debris from gutters and downspouts to prevent them from leaking or sagging. Clogged gutters and subsequent water issues can cause foundation problems, wall and ceiling damage, or even insect infestations. Just make sure you do it safely – use a tall, sturdy ladder (and never stand on the top three rungs!), and don’t forget protective eyewear, gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself against debris, bacteria and pests.
- Roof: Snow can be a heavy burden for an old or damaged roof to handle. Before winter hits, inspect your roof for signs of potential problems, like missing, broken, blistered or curling shingles; cracked caulk or rust spots; or large patches of moss and lichen. Any damaged, loose, or missing shingles should be repaired right away.
- Snow removal supplies: Before the first snow, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and bought supplies early. Inspect the bolts, belts and parts on your snowblower; make sure your snow shovel is in good shape; stock up on ice melt or sand; and invest in a snow rake to help clear your roof. Snow accumulation on your roof that exceeds 20 to 25 pounds per square foot can be dangerous.
I hope you stay safe and warm with a few extra bucks in your pocket this winter and holiday season with these tips!! Happy holidays!