How to Prep Your Home for Winter: A 20-Item Punch List

How to Prep Your Home for Winter- A

How to Prep Your Home for Winter: A 20-Item Punch List There are many different methods for keeping your home cozy and warm in the winter, from inexpensive tactics to green remedies to expensive and more extensive upgrades. We’ve boiled down – from hundreds of home-prep ideas – a list of the best tips, preferred agenda notwithstanding.

  1.  Clean out your gutters! Soggy clumps of leaves and other debris will prevent proper drainage of rain and snow melt, resulting in the formation of ice dams and icicles. Ice dams can cause water to leak into your home. Remove gunk from gutters first by hand and then spray with a hose to make sure that you’ve cleared any obstacles to water drainage.
  2. While you have your hose out, pay attention to any leaks in the gutters themselves and to how the water is draining – water should be draining away from your home. If it’s pooling around your foundation or being sucked up by the ground, it could be leaking into your house.
  3. Seal exterior-wall cracks with weather-resistant caulk (cracks in brick call for masonry sealer).
  4. One of the simplest things you can do inside your home is to check for drafts or “air leaks.” Try the incense trick – walk around the interior perimeter of your house with a lit incense stick. Wherever the smoke wavers, air from the outside is entering. Pay special attention to draft-prone areas like door and window frames. Once you’ve discovered where drafts are coming from, get to work sealing them up. A door snake or sweep will block cold air from sneaking under exterior doors, and weatherstripping or applying caulk to cracks and spaces where air is passing through will also pay off.
  5.  Check your insulation. Do you have enough of it? Adding more insulation to your attic, basement, and walls will help keep your home warmer.
  6. Before the cold weather really rolls in, it’s imperative that you make sure that your furnace is up to snuff. Hire a professional to inspect and clean it (you only need to do this once a year – before you start using it annually is a good time).
  7. Replace dirty furnace filters once a month or spring for permanent filters – also known as electrostatic filters – which can be cleaned and reused instead of thrown away each time.
  8. Have your ducts checked. A lot of valuable heat can be lost through poorly insulated and disconnected duct work. (Gaps can be fixed with a simple application of metal-backed tape.) You may also want to invest in duct-cleaning services while you’re at it, which will ensure that your ducts are clean and in proper working order.
  9. Ideally your home is equipped with storm windows. However, storm windows are not cheap. If you’re on a budget, invest in a few storm windows at a time and seal the rest of the rest of your windows with a window insulator kit, which is a more affordable albeit temporary upgrade.
  10. Have your chimney inspected and, if necessary, swept.
  11. Prep your woodstove by having it cleaned (something you should be doing consistently throughout the winter – the buildup of ash will eat away at the stove’s innards).
  12. Find the reverse switch on your ceiling fans. Reversing the order of your fans – when you look up at them, they should be moving clockwise – actually spreads heat from the ceiling to the rest of the room.
  13. Turn off your hose by switching off its interior water valve and exterior water spigot, make sure that the line is drained, and store the hose indoors.
  14. Think about insulating the non-insulated pipes in your home. This will help lower the costs associated with heating your water. You can usually find uninsulated pipes in crawlspaces, the basement, and the garage. Use pre-molded foam rubber sleeves (also called pre-slit pipe foam) and secure with duct tape.
  15. Make sure that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working and replace old batteries with new ones.
  16. Do you have a fire extinguisher? If not, buy one and keep it in or near your kitchen.
  17. Prep your water heater for the winter. Flush water through the drain valve to remove any sediment or particles that may have collected. This will increase its efficiency. Something else to consider doing – most water heaters are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn yours down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to increase heat savings.
  18. Invest in a programmable thermostat. Set it and forget it (and save money).
  19. Scan every room in your home and make sure that nothing is obstructing heating vents, like furniture.
  20. Bundle up! Break out your thermal cotton pajamas, warm sweaters, thick socks, and cozy blankets! Layering up adds about 4 more degrees of warmth.