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10 Steps to Winterize Your Home

Oct 01, 2020

“Winterizing” your home is recommended to prevent damage to pipes and other components of your plumbing system. It’s also a good idea to make your place more energy-efficient before those cold winds start blowing in.  

We’ve put together a list of 10 tips to help you winterize your home and protect your investment (and your wallet) from winter’s worst damage. 

Seal your doors and windows: Drafty doors and windows let precious warm air escape from your home, making your heating system work that much harder to keep things cozy inside. Use draft guards by your doors to prevent heat loss. Seal window gaps with weatherstripping tape and consider using window insulation film. Remaining gaps in windows, doors and siding can be filled with caulk.

Replace your filters: Switch out the filters in your central air and heating system to improve their overall efficiency. A new filter can make a significant impact on the quality (and cost) of your home’s heat.

Clean gutters: Remove debris from your roof and gutters. It’s important to clear the way for water and ice ahead of winter storms. You don’t want heavy, icy build ups to unhinge your gutters from the roof! 

Water system: Winterizing your home’s water system before the temperature drops is critical to help ensure a winter season free from frozen pipes and water damage. Insulate pipes that pass through unheated areas of your home, such as the garage. Consider adding insulation in your attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Insulation helps maintain higher temperatures in these areas. If the weather is very cold, open kitchen and cabinet doors to let warm air circulate. And when things are really chilly, make sure to run water through your pipes - even a little trickle - to keep them from freezing.

Flush your water heater: Particles and sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, making it less efficient over time. Before cold weather sets in make sure to flush water through the drain valve to keep your heater functioning at its best.   

Heating system: If you haven’t run your furnace in 3-6 months it’s recommended to perform some yearly maintenance. The cost of hiring a professional to inspect your furnace makes sense - they can make sure it’s operating safely and efficiently, and inspect your heating ducts in the process. 

Test your detectors: Check the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change them if needed. Winter sees a rise in the number of home fires and cases of carbon monoxide poisoning because families are running their boilers and furnaces constantly to keep warm.

Clear out your yard: Inspect your yard and trim any branches that are located near your home and power lines. Winter’s snow and ice can weigh heavy on tree limbs, causing them to fall and damage your roof. Better to be safe than sorry in this case!

Prepare an emergency kit: Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of a winter weather emergency. Visit Ready.gov to review items you should include in a basic disaster supply kit.  

Go green: Remember Mother Nature and think of traditional ways to keep warm - sweaters, quilted blankets and fires in the fireplace. A warm sweater can add about 4 degrees of warmth to your body. Try as best as you can to keep warm before touching that thermostat!