Wednesday, November 3, 2021 / by Melisa Kern
Here are a few tips for preparing your home for winter:
Protect Your Pipes
Depending on the region of the United States you're in, you'll need to protect your pipes from bursting this winter.
Time to Weatherproof
Weather stripping or installing storm doors and windows will prevent cold air from entering your home or heat from escaping it, which will reduce your power bills. Door sweeps are also an effective and easy way to keep the cold out.
Clean the Gutters
Cleaning your gutters is an important part of winter prep. A good rule of thumb is to have the gutters cleaned as soon as the last leaves have fallen in the autumn. To prevent clogging, inspect and clean the gutters of leaves and other debris. Clean gutters will also allow melting snow to drain properly.
If you want to avoid gutter cleanings, consider gutter guards. They can be made of stainless steel or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will help keep out leaves, pine needles, roof sand grit and other debris from your gutter. They need to be occasionally brushed off to ensure the guards work to their maximum effectiveness, but it's not as strenuous as routine cleanings.
Block the Cold
Caulk around windows and use foam outlet protectors to prevent cold air from entering your home. However, the majority of heat loss typically occurs via openings in the attic. Check to make sure that you have enough insulation.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
In the winter, the Department of Energy suggests keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you're at home. Lower the thermostat a few degrees while you're away or sleeping. Switching your thermostat out for a programmable version is a good idea. It'll let you customize your heating so the system doesn't run when you don't need it, keeping your home comfortable and bills down.
Protect Your Plants
You'll need to bring plants and flowering trees inside before the first cold snap. Typically, you should bring your plants in before temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring in the Outdoors
Cold temperatures, snow and ice can damage outdoor furniture and grills. If possible, store them in the garage or basement. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank first. It must be stored outside. If you don't have storage space for your items, purchase covers to protect them from the elements. You also need to maintain your grill and cover it before putting it away for the season.
Maintain Your Outdoor Equipment
Outdoor power tools, such as mowers and string trimmers, need to be cleaned and maintained prior to storing. If you have a snow blower, it's time to inspect it before the first snowfall to ensure it's working properly.
Save on Your Energy Bills
Call your local power company to see if they conduct energy saving assessments. It's often a free service where a representative will identify specific changes to make your home more energy efficient and save you money. In addition to the suggestions above, LED light bulbs and water heater blankets can also make a difference.
Make Your Furnace More Efficient
Your furnace will function more efficiently with a clean filter. A dirty filter with trapped lint, pollen, dust, etc., obstructs airflow and makes your furnace run longer to heat your home. Replace filters at least every three months.