How to Prepare Your Home For Winter

How to Prepare Your Home For Winter

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The first snows of the season have been falling across much of the upper tier of the country, signaling that a long winter is on its way. Even in areas of the country where winter is not particularly harsh, a surprise chill can test your home like no other time of the year. Checking around the home to make sure that everything is ready for your next wintry blast is something you can do now to avoid big problems later on.

Outside

Remaining leaves need to be picked up and placed at the curb or in bags for removal. That may also mean getting on the roof of your home and blowing leaves off of it and cleaning out the gutters. Gutters should be free of debris or you risk having water freezing and backing up drainage, potentially damaging your home. Check your satellite dish or TV aerial to make sure that it is securely fastened in place.

Your lawn equipment should be wintered. This means draining your lawn mower of gas, but you can leave the oil in it. If equipment is left in an outdoor shed, place a cover over it to protect it from damaging cold and ice.

If you have a bird bath, empty the water and remove and store the top section for the season. If you want to provide for the birds throughout the winter, consider keeping the bath filled all winter – add a plug-in deicer to keep water from freezing. Purchase seasonally appropriate foods for your feathery friends.

Clean out your garage. Most of us use our garages more for storage purposes than for our cars. Look around – there may be liquids present which could freeze if garage temperatures get too low. Reduce clutter – sell, give away or send to recycling anything you won’t be needing again.

Inside

Drafty windows and doors will make it hard to maintain temperatures inside of your home. Seal or repair cracks and make sure windows are latched shut for the winter. Old windows can benefit from fresh insulation or plastic to keep the cold out.

Check your furnace. Your heating unit needs to be able to get you through the winter. Make sure that filters have been changed, pipes and connections are secured and not leaking and belts are not worn. Consider having a heating inspector stop by to prep your furnace for the season.

Replace your thermostat or adjust accordingly. If you have an electronic thermostat, then you are good to go. Set your temperatures to rise and fall at various points of the day, including before rising in the morning, coming home from work or retiring for the evening. Consider replacing your manual unit to gain savings on your heating bill.

Update your emergency kit. Life happens – an ice storm moves through, shutting off power to your area. Make sure that you have enough candles, matches, batteries and flashlights on hand to ride out the inconvenience. Your cell phone should be fully charged and emergency numbers at the ready – just in case.

Getting Ready

You may also want to keep a fire extinguisher on hand, one that can handle a kitchen fire. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector. Use timers to turn lights on and off and install a sensor for outdoor lighting. Finally, make sure that you have a shovel and rock salt handy in the event a storm does blow through your area.

Resources

University of West Virginia: Preparing For Winter — Information For Homeowners

EnergyStar.gov: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR

Further Reading

SayEducate.com: You Can Winter Your Lawn

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Categories: Home Tips