It’s that time of year again… time to pack away the beach towels and hammocks and settle in for the winter. Though it may sound like a ton of work, winterizing your house has a load of advantages. Getting your home ready for cold weather is greener, makes it more comfortable, saves you money and, most importantly, it helps keep you and your family safe. Here’s a checklist of things to do to prepare your home for all that old man winter throws at you. As always, safety first!
- Hire a chimney sweep or burn a creosote log to clear dangerous, flammable buildup from your chimney.
- Clear out anything you’re storing in the space around your furnace.
- Trim tree branches back away from your house and remove any dead trees.
- Check and repair cracked or loose steps and handrails.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries.
- Install heat tape along the edges of your roof to cut down on the formation of icicles.
Home Maintenance and Energy Efficiency –
- Fill cracks around doors and windows with caulk to prevent cold air drafts from entering your home.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat which will allow you to lower your thermostat when you are away and raise the temperature just before you return home. Prices for these handy thermostats range from about $35 for a simple version to around $250 for a thermostat that can be controlled remotely using your smartphone.
- Seal off dormant fireplaces so that warm air is not lost through the chimney.
- Schedule an energy audit to determine your best options for saving energy this winter.
- Beef up the insulation in your home.
- Change your furnace’s filter.
- Clean debris from all gutters.
- Find the indoor valve and shut off the outdoor water supply.
- Insulate hot water pipes. This is much simpler than it sounds – simply slip inexpensive split foam tubing from your local home improvement store over the pipes and tape it shut.
- Replace doors and windows with more energy efficient versions. Discuss options with your energy consultant. (Ask your Realtor to suggest an energy consultant if you don’t know one.)
The Small Stuff –
- Clean, dry and cover your patio furniture to protect it against rust and other winter weather damage.
- If you don’t have a mudroom, use a hard plastic boot tray in the entryway to safely hold salt and slush covered boots, protecting your hardwoods.
- Move outdoor plants indoors.
- Add some warm, cozy throws and pillows in cheery colors to sitting areas in your home to help chase those winter blues away!
Once it’s all said and done, sit down with a pumpkin spice treat and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from being prepared, knowing that you’ve done all you can to keep your family safe and warm this winter.