With winter right around the corner, it’s time to winterize your home. If you aren’t quite sure how to get started, there’s no reason to worry. From replacement vinyl windows that will keep the frigid air out to insulating your exterior pipes to prevent them from freezing, this cheat sheet tells you everything you need to know to winterize your home.
Assess Your Windows and Doors
Windows that are old or damaged not only allow cold drafts to enter your home, but they also let warm air escape. The result is a chilly room and a high energy bill. If your windows have seen better days, opting for replacement vinyl windows may be the answer. In addition to preventing cold air from seeping through the window panes, there perimeter is tightly sealed to ensure there is no draft.
Next, take a look at your doors. If you can see the light shining around the door’s exterior, you have a problem. This is where the cold outdoor air will flow into your home. There are several options available for fixing the problem, such as putting up a storm door, purchasing insulated weather-stripping to place between the face of the door and its frame, or even putting a towel or other piece of fabric up against the bottom of the door, if this is your problem area.
Pay Attention to Your Exterior Faucets
If you aren’t careful, your outdoor pipes can become frozen and burst, damaging both the exterior and interior of your home. To prevent this, remove any outdoor hoses and drain any water that may be left in the faucet. Then, use the shut-off valves to cut off the water supply to each outdoor faucet. For even better protection, you may want to purchase insulation sleeves from your hardware store. Simply slip them on.
Clean Out Your Gutters and Chimney
Cleaning out any debris trapped in your gutters is crucial to prevent water from pooling and turning into ice, which can damage your gutters. You also need to make sure your chimney has been properly cleaned to avoid fires. If you aren’t too sure about doing these things yourself, it’s a good idea to hire a professional.
Swap out Your Furnace Filters and Reverse Your Fans
Not only do dirty furnace filters inhibit airflow and increase energy demand, but they also have a harder time clearing the air of dirt, dust, and pet dander that can upset allergies and asthma. After you’ve replaced or thoroughly cleaned them, take the time to reverse the direction of the blades on your fans. When fans rotate clockwise, they push heated air down, allowing it to circulate better and reduce your energy costs.
Empty Your A/C Lines
Now that you are turning your air conditioner off for a while be sure to drain any sitting water from its hoses or pipes. If there is a water shutoff valve on your A/C, go ahead and shut it off. This will prevent them from freezing and cracking.
Seal Any Leaks
It is essential to take a good look at your home’s exterior, as well as the basement and any crawl spaces. Be sure to seal any leaks and cover any vents that won’t close properly. You can use insulation, plastic, or even cardboard.
Check Your Roof
Take a quick look at your roof. (If this is not something you can do yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.) Look for any damaged or missing shingles and replace them. Also, evaluate the flashing around any roof projections and chimneys, which often cause leaks. Make any necessary repairs.