If you live in the balmy, palm-tree south, you may want to ask yourself why you are reading an article on winterizing one’s home. If you are here to revel in the misery of others–the unfortunate sods who choose to inhabit the land of four seasons–step away from the computer. Your laughter is not welcome here.
If, however, you have a home that needs to be prepped for winter, you have come to the right place. Here you will find five great tips that will help protect your home from the upcoming cold months.
1. Prevent Damn Ice Dams
Ice dams can unleash mayhem on your home–damaging your roof, causing water leaks, and creating the ideal environment for mold. These ice build-ups can also develop into massive and dangerous icicles.
As “Defending Your Home From Winter Ice Dams” states, the key to preventing ice dams from developing is to keep the roof cold by properly insulating the attic floor and installing a ventilation system around the soffits and to fix damaged gutters and roof. If you’re unsure about the adequacy of your insulation, you can invite a home-energy auditor to evaluate it and identify areas for improvement.
2. Caulk The Cracks
When it comes to the battle for warmth and energy-efficiency, drafts are your number one enemy. No one wants to pay good money to heat the great outdoors.
Begin by checking that your weatherstripping is in good shape and replace it if necessary. If you have any broken or cracked windows, you will need to address those issues.
Grab your handy-dandy caulking gun. Past President of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Bill Richardson tells “15 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter,” that if the gap between the siding and the window or door frames is bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulking. And, don’t forget to caulk on the inside too.
3. Change Out Your Thermostat…stat.
If you want to enjoy a comfortable room temperature without emptying your bank account, you will want to switch to a programmable thermostat. According to Canadian Living (and no one does winter better than our neighbors to the North), the David Suzuki Foundation recommends automatically lowering your household temperature while you sleep or are away at work, and bringing the heat back up when you wake or arrive home.
4. Get the Chimney Swept
It is important to have your chimney professionally maintained on a regular basis to avoid creosote build-up and other hidden dangers that could lead to either a chimney fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. By hiring a Chimney Sweep that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you can ensure that your chimney is clean and that your damper is in good repair, giving you peace of mind as you cuddle up in front of a cozy fire.
5. Forego Flooding
The only pools of water welcome in your home are those that come in the form of an indoor swimming pool. If you fail to prepare your plumbing properly for winter, however, you may get more indoor water than your bargained for.
Any pipes that pass through unheated spaces such as crawl spaces or garages should be outfitted with insulated sleeves. You will need to shut off the water supply to your outdoor taps and drain the lines. Boston.com also recommends having your irrigation systems blown out to avoid freezing.
Whether you consider winter a friend or a foe, nothing beats coming home to a snuggly warm house after a cold trek through the blowing snow. By following a few winterizing tips, you can make sure that your home is always ready to give you a warm embrace.
Do you consider winter a friend or foe? Why?