Winter is coming, which means it’s time to weatherproof your home. If you will be away for some time, or if your home is vacant, you want confidence that everything will be in one piece by the time Spring comes around. Unless you’re a professional, you may not know where to begin. The following checklist should help. Follow along with each step before the cold weather gets here, and you'll have your home weatherproofed before you know it. But first, why is home winterization so important?
Why Should You Winterize Your Home?
Knowing what's at stake can help motivate you to weatherproof your home.
For one, winterization can make your home more energy-efficient, saving you loads on your heating bill. You can also prevent damage to your home, such as burst pipes, a crashed-in roof, and other calamities that can occur from seasonal exposure to ice and snow.
Following this list can protect your home and let you keep a little money in your pocket. That should be reason enough to follow through on the weatherproofing process.
When Should You Begin Winterizing Your Home?
Most experts agree that the time for winterization is the moment the temperature outside drops to sixty degrees or below. That’s the signal that the yearly freeze is on its way. It’s also an indication that you should walk the perimeter of your home to perform any weatherproofing chores that may be necessary first, before continuing the process on the inside.
Outdoor Winterization Tips
Shut Off Exterior Pipes
When your outside pipes freeze, any water left inside can expand, causing ice to form. This expansion process puts pressure on the interior of the pipes, which can cause cracking or the pipes may burst. If that happens, you may come back in the Spring to find your home flooded or filled with water damage.
The good news is that plastic piping tends to be more tolerant of freezing temps. That may not be such good news if you are winterizing a "well-lived-in" home filled with copper or steel piping.
If the home will be vacant for some time, with no water running through the pipes, make sure to empty all plumbing that will be exposed to severe cold. Your list can include the supply lines for the swimming pool, water heater, and sprinkler system. Don’t forget all the pipes that run to your attic, garage, crawl space, and basement.
Turning off the water supply is free of charge, and only requires your time, yet this step can pay off big-time in the long run.
If you don't mind spending a few bucks, fill each pipe with an antifreeze solution to complete the winterization process.
Insulate Pipes with Sleeves
For pipes that run against the exterior walls, and that have limited insulation, consider investing in a set of insulation sleeves. These will add a layer of insulation to your pipes that can further prevent damage. You can also use slip-on foam pipe insulation.
Whichever winterized coatings you choose, try to avoid leaving spaces between the insulation for maximum effect.
Move Outdoor Equipment Indoors
Any outdoor furniture and appliances you have can be moved into a garage, basement, or storage shed to prevent winter damage. If you have a gas grill, disconnect the gas, and clean the grill thoroughly before moving it indoors. Doing so will keep wildlife from thinking it’s a great place to nest.
If moving your furniture and grills indoors is not a valid option, invest in a set of covers to keep them protected through the winter.
Trim Dead Tree Limbs
You don't want an ice storm or snow gust to cause dead or dying limbs to fall on your roof, which can lead to extensive (and expensive) damage. Shingles missing could be the least of your worries. Falling limbs can expose your home to moisture, causing untold water damage, not to mention quite a mess.
Cut the dead limbs down before winter arrives and get much-needed peace of mind.
Adjust the Home's Internal Temperature
Your air conditioner managed to get you through those hot summer months. Now it's time to give your furnace a turn.
A home that will be left dormant for a while does not need to be kept cozy and livable. For proper winterization, aim for warm air temperatures, around 50 to 55 degrees. Doing so can save you money on your heating bill and prevent your pipes from freezing.
Clean Your Gutters
Icicles and ice dams can form when water cannot flow freely through your gutters. Get up on that ladder and start cleaning your gutters now if you want to avoid expensive problems later.
Indoor Winterization Tips
Tape bubble wrap across any doorways that will be exposed to severe cold. Foam door seals will also do the trick. Try to form a seal around the edges so that no cold air can get in. Doing so can help you avoid drafts and save you 5% to 30% of wasted heat, According to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Plug Your Outlets
Energy doesn't just escape through the spaces between doors and windows. A surprising amount of cold air blows in through your electrical outlets. You may have fifty to seventy outlets throughout your home. No matter the number, you would do well to plug these with foam-rubber gaskets. You will have to go through the trouble of removing the outlet cover plate. Once it comes away from the wall, press the gasket over the power outlet receptacle before replacing the cover. The edges should come over the sides, preventing cold air from coming in, and keeping heat air from escaping.
Adjust Your Ceiling Fans
You can winterize your home and save in the process by ensuring your ceiling fans move in a counterclockwise direction. You can complete this step by flipping the switch on the base. This move pushes the hot air hovering near the ceiling in a downward direction, toward the floor. This can translate into even healthier savings when it comes time to pay your heating bill.
Add Window Insulation Throughout Your Home
Window insulation film can help you retain 70% of the heat energy that is usually lost through unsecured windows. Trapping this heat energy can help you save immensely on your bill and will help make the rooms inside your home feel warmer.
Drape the Windows
You can further keep heat energy from escaping by covering the windows with insulated blinds or quilted drapes.
Disguise the Home as Occupied
Winterizing your home can communicate to thieves that your home will be vacant for some time.
You can make it seem like someone is always home by:
Forwarding your mail
Asking a neighbor or friend to pick up packages
Arranging for the snow to be shoveled and removed after storms
Installing motion-sensitive exterior lights and lights on a sensor
You now have several ways to keep to your budget as you winterize your home. Do this every year and the colder months will pass before you know it. Soon, it’ll be time to summarize your home, but that’s a different story. To learn more, contact Ashford Homes, where we want you to live comfortably, rest assured. Call 254-300-7585 to learn more.