Prepare for the impending arrival of winter, as the cold and unforgiving season can descend upon us suddenly. It’s prudent not to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to safeguard your home from the elements. Although the thought of cold weather may not be appealing right now, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the art of winterizing your home. These proactive measures can spare you from chilly emergencies in the future. Read on to discover what you can do to make your home winter-ready from the inside out.
10 Essential Steps to Prepare for Winter
1. Inspect and Upgrade Attic Insulation
Don’t underestimate the importance of attic insulation. In the same way, you layer up in warm, breathable clothing during the winter, your home should also be well-prepared from the inside. While many focus on the exterior when preparing for winter, Michael DiMartino, SVP of project services at Power Home Remodeling, emphasizes the significance of insulating your home’s interior. Proper attic insulation helps retain heat within your home, preventing it from escaping outside. Pay attention to the insulation’s “R-value,” as higher values indicate greater energy efficiency. The recommended R-value varies by region but typically ranges from R-13 to R-23 for exterior walls and R-30 to R-49 for attics and ceilings. Seek professional assistance if you’re unfamiliar with attic insulation.
2. Seal Air Gaps
Air leaks can occur in various areas of your home, not just in the attic. To prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from seeping in, inspect windows, doors, and their surrounding areas for small cracks or gaps. Seal these openings with weatherstripping or caulk. You can also perform a building pressurization test to identify air leaks more precisely. This test, carried out by a professional using a blower door, reduces the pressure inside your home to pinpoint leakage areas.
3. Maintain Dryer Vents
Regular maintenance of dryer vents is essential, especially in the winter. As the use of dryers increases in colder months, a clogged vent can impede airflow and cause your dryer to work harder. Additionally, securing dryer vents and air intakes helps keep critters out of your home.
4. Check Smoke Detectors
Your smoke detectors should be inspected twice a year, with one check before the winter season. Increased heating and cooking during the winter can elevate the risk of house fires. Ensure your smoke detectors are in working order by replacing the batteries and testing them.
5. Replace HVAC Filters
Maintain your HVAC system’s efficiency by replacing filters before the furnace operates at full capacity. This small step can improve comfort and lower energy bills.
6. Insulate Pipes
Prevent pipes from bursting due to freezing temperatures by adding foam insulation to pipes, especially those on exterior walls. Proper insulation ensures the water in the pipes does not freeze, averting pressure buildup.
7. Use Rugs for Insulation
Besides enhancing the aesthetics of your space, rugs provide an additional layer of insulation, trapping cold air and making your home cozier. Larger area rugs are particularly effective at keeping bare floors warmer.
8. Install Window Treatments
Consider using curtains or drapes to preserve heat during the winter. Keep them open during the day to allow sunlight to warm your rooms, and close them at night to insulate against cold air.
9. Winterize from the Outside
9.1. Clean Gutters
Clean your gutters before winter to prevent water accumulation and leaks inside your home. Even if you have gutter guards, it’s wise to give your gutters a thorough cleaning.
9.2. Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Water Sources
Winterize outdoor irrigation systems, disconnect and store garden hoses, and shut off outdoor water sources to avoid pipes bursting in freezing temperatures.
9.3. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Windows
Energy-efficient windows can keep your home warmer during the winter. These windows often feature synthetic materials, multiple panes of glass, and insulating gases like argon.
9.4. Insulate Your Garage Door
Consider insulating your garage door, especially if it’s attached to your home. This can help save on energy bills and create extra usable space.
9.5. Winterize Air Conditioning Units
Remove and store window AC units to prevent drafts and maintain a warm indoor temperature. Timing may vary by region but aim to do this in late September.
9.6. Check Your Roof and Chimney
Ensure your roof and chimney are in good condition by seeking a professional inspection. This includes checking the age, materials, and overall condition of your roof, as well as inspecting your chimney for any compromised masonry.
10. Stock Up on Winter Supplies
Gather the necessary winter supplies in advance to avoid long lines and empty shelves. This includes shovels, de-icing salt, snow roof rakes, ice scrapers, and other tools to maintain your home’s exterior.
By taking these proactive steps, you can ensure that your home is well-prepared to withstand the challenges of winter and keep you warm and comfortable throughout the season.