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How to Winterize Your Home for a Warm and Safe Living Space

Winterizing the Home

Winter is quickly approaching. If your home has not been winterized, the time to do so is now. We have all the information you could possibly need to winterize your home. Without further adieu, here is exactly how to prepare your home for the winter conditions.

Start by Examining Your Home’s Foundation

If your home’s foundation has any debris or vegetation in its vicinity, remove it prior to the beginning of winter. All cracks and other points of entry should be promptly sealed to stop animals from moving down below and into your living space. Rats, mice and other rodents can slide on through tiny spaces, even if they are no larger than a nickel in size. If there are crawlspace entrances at your property, secure them now. Take a close look at sill plates for signs of infestation or dry rot.

Inspect the Heating System

If your home heating system is not functional or cannot be counted on in the dead of winter, you will have quite the painfully cold home across the next four months. Lean on a heating and cooling professional to analyze the functionality of your furnace, clean it and perform a tuneup. It will also help to clean your home’s air ducts prior to winter’s arrival so all the dirt, dust and other gunk is not blown throughout your house when the heat is turned on.

Mind the Plumbing

If you do not know where the water main is in your home, this is the time to find it. Otherwise, you might have a plumbing emergency in the midst of a brutally cold winter and end up scrambling in search of the water main. Find the water main today and make a point of remember its location. This way, you can make a beeline to the water main if anything goes wrong with your plumbing.

If your plumbing’s pipes have not been insulated, insulate them prior to winter. Pipe insulation is especially important if the pipes run through an unheated basement. The Department of Energy (DOE) reports the insulation of hot water pipes hikes the temperature between 2-4 degrees. Adequately insulate your home’s pipes and you will enjoy hot water without paying as much as you will be able to keep the hot water heater on a lower setting.

Furthermore, it is prudent to insulate the hot water heater itself. The DOE reports insulating a hot water heater reduces water heating costs between 4% and 9%. If your home has air conditioning, drain the pipes for that system as well. Some air conditioners are equipped with water shut-off valves. If your system has such a valve, turn it off prior to winter.

Let the Water out of the Hoses

Drain your home’s garden hoses before the cold air arrives. This way, the water will not freeze within the hose lines when the temperature plummets. Fail to drain your hoses and you just might have to replace them at winter’s end.

Prepare the Fireplace

The average homeowner neglects cleaning his or her chimney as such a project is quite messy and fireplaces are not used throughout the majority of the year. However, failing to clean the chimney will lead to the buildup of nasty particles including soot and creosote. Your chimney should have a screen at its top to prevent birds and rodents from moving below. Be sure to take a look at the fireplace damper to determine if it opens and closes in the proper manner.

Inspect the Windows and Doors

Examine the exterior of your home, including all windows and doors, for exposed points of entry, cracks, crevices, etc. If you notice any such openings along the exterior of your home, seal them prior to winter’s arrival. Ideally, you will apply weatherstripping to the perimeter of doors so cold air cannot seep into your home. Be sure to caulk the windows to boot. If there are any cracks in your glass windows, have the glass replaced to prevent the cold air from moving in. The entire replacement of a window should be followed by a priming and painting of barren wood.

Protect the Window Wells

Do not neglect the window wells of your home’s basement. Apply plastic shields to the window wells so they are adequately covered against winter’s wrath. Fail to safeguard the window wells and you will inevitably pay more to heat your home throughout the upcoming winter.

Check the Furnace Filter Before Turning the Heat On

It is a mistake to turn on the furnace prior to checking its filter. Take a good look at the filter for dirt and other grime. If there is an abundance of grime, it is time to replace the filter. Try to replace your furnace filter once every month throughout the winter. A clean furnace filter helps the heating system run with the utmost efficiency to save you money and reduce the amount of energy your home requires to maintain a comfortable temperature.