Winter is fast approaching, so it’s time to take your winter clothes out of storage and prep your home. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to prepare their homes for winter. Whether you’re a renter or homeowner, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your home is safe and protected during the cold months. Here’s how to prep your home for colder weather.
Inspect Your Furnace
You should have your furnace inspected once a year before winter hits. It’s most cost-effective to do it in the summer before you experience any cold weather; if there’s a problem with your furnace, you don’t want to find out when it snows for the first time. During the winter, if your furnace breaks or stops working properly, it can take a few weeks for you to get it serviced. If it needs to be replaced, it can take even longer, leaving you without heat during the coldest months of the year.
Having your furnace inspected right now can help you save time, money, and aggravation. In addition, after your furnace is inspected and everything is in proper working order, you should turn your heat on before the weather gets colder to ensure it can properly heat your home.
You pay property taxes, so you should take care of your home and property. Snow builds up on trees during the winter, which causes them to get heavier, and limbs can break off and fall onto your home or car. Trimming your trees before the first snowfall will prevent any potentially hazardous situations before a winter storm or the snow and ice start weighing them down.
Take Care of Pipes
Frozen pipes are some of the most common issues during the winter. They can cause flooding with costly repairs, but you can take action to prevent them from getting too cold and freezing. Everyone should service their pipes before winter or care for them during the winter. So whether you’re an investor with a vacant property, a homeowner, or a renter, there are a few things you can do. Homeowners can wrap their water pipes in insulation when they keep their homes at lower temperatures. Investors or individuals with homes they leave during the winter should aim to take care of this before cold weather hits.
If you plan to stay in your home during the winter, the best way to care for your pipes is to keep your heat on at least 55 degrees. Since this is considered relatively cold, especially in the winter months, keeping your home warm enough to heat the pipes shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, many people try to save money by turning off the heat when they’re not home for long periods of time, which can lead them to burst when freezing and expanding. Your pipes can burst even when you don’t use the water, so you should also turn off the water if you plan to leave your home.
Prepare for Cold Nights
Unfortunately, you may not always have heat during the winter. Brownouts and blackouts can happen after winter storms, so it’s essential you prepare for the potential of having no heat. You can purchase a generator or ensure your fireplace is in proper working order to ensure you can heat your home even when the power is out.
Drafts cause cold air to enter the home and heat to escape. Not only can these cold spots cause your electric bill to increase, but they can give you a headache if you sleep or spend time near them. Drafts should be a big concern if you want to keep your house heated without using too much energy since the goal should be to use the heat you need and let it automatically turn off when your home is heated. Of course, some hot air will escape your home, but you can find and block drafts around doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering your home.
Move Furniture From Vents
Your vents should never have any large objects or furniture blocking them because it can affect airflow. If you want your furnace to efficiently heat your home, you should remove any furniture that may be blocking vents and obstructing airways. You should also look to see if anything is blocking the intake vents so the furnace won’t get suffocated, which can cause it to break.
Cover the Windows
Some windows work better than others at keeping cold air out, but no window is perfect. After you’ve blocked any drafts and covered any small cracks or holes near windows, you should consider finding ways to keep your windows from letting cold air into your home. There are a few ways to do this, but the easiest is to cover them with shrink-wrap. The plastic will trap cold air near the window without letting it go any farther into your home. You can also invest in heavier winter curtains to keep cold air out.
Reverse the Fans
Hot air rises, but when it’s winter, you want to keep all hot air as close to you as possible. If you have ceiling fans, run them clockwise to circulate the warm air back down towards the room to keep the environment warm. If you run them the opposite way, it will circulate the warm air to the ceiling faster, which means you’ll be slightly cooler in the room.
Clean the Gutters
Snow and ice are heavy, and if they get stuck on your roof, they can cause it to cave in. You should clean your gutters at least twice a year, especially before winter, since they can get clogged up with leaves from fall that make it difficult for melted snow to drain off the roof. In addition, debris and leaves can attract ice, snow, and rain, which prevents your gutters from being able to drain properly. If this happens, it could cause serious damage to your home.
Stock Up on Salt
If you have a driveway or walkway, you should stock up on salt to help melt any potentially dangerous ice from forming and melt it when it does form. You should salt your walkways and driveway every time it snows to prevent the buildup of ice while also providing a little traction for anyone who walks on it. Salt can also make it easier to shovel your porches, decks, and driveways since it’ll help remove any ice that can get stuck.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.