As we start yanking our heavy comforters, woolies, and shovels out of storage in preparation for winter, don’t forget that your home needs some seasonal prep as well. Winterizing your home can lower energy bills, increase the comfort, efficiency and lifespan of your home, and make your property a safer place to live. Read on for the steps you can take towards a more peaceful (and safer) winter hibernation.
Note: Most tasks and repairs are within the average person’s ability, while others should be performed by a competent professional.
Heating and Ventilation
- Inspect/clean/repair your heating system, such as furnaces or central air.
- Clean out chimneys and flues of creosote, soot and bird/insect nests.
- Consider updating your old thermostat to a programmable version.
- Bleed air from hot water radiators.
- Remove or cover window air conditioners.
- Clean/test/replace smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Clean humidifiers and replace evaporator pad.
- Relocate items that you may keep near heaters/furnaces.
- Run your ceiling fans in reverse at low speed during the winter. This will force warm air down.
- Examine ducts and seal any leaks.
Windows and Doors
- Seal gaps around doors and windows.
- Replace screens with storm windows and doors.
- Examine wooden frames for decay or insect damage.
- Re-putty wood windows.
- Remove/replace old silicone caulk.
- Replace missing or damaged shingles.
- Inspect flashing for rust, tears or breaks in sealant.
- Look at integrity of insulation and possible air leaks, which may result in ice dams and icicles.
- Consider hiring a weatherization contractor or having an energy audit performed.
- Remove debris.
- Make certain the gutters/spouts are secured and free of leaks, damage and rust.
- Look for damage to roof, fascia, siding and trim.
- Make sure they extends a minimum of five feet from the house.
Walkways, Drives and Steps
- Repair cracks.
- Secure loose rails to steps, decks and porches.
Lawn, Garden and Deck
- Have a professional trim tree branches back from house and electric lines.
- Slope lawn from foundation. Add dirt at the low areas.
- Remove and drain/store garden hoses.
- Drain and close (shut off valve) the exit faucets on exterior of house.
- Make sure your exterior is properly lit to help avoid falls on ice and snow.
Safety Items The following items should be checked/maintained at least once a year
- Smoke and CO Detectors
- Replace batteries
- Vacuum with soft brush attachment
- Press test button
- Locate one on every floor
- Fire Extinguishers
- Make certain yours has an A-B-C rating
- Locate it near the kitchen (better to have one on each floor)
- Inspect annually
- Replace every six years
- Fire Escape Plans
- Every bedroom to have two exits
- Windows not blocked or stuck
- Escape ladders for upper stories
- Escape plan and meeting place
- Keep storage to a minimum
- Old newspapers
- Hazardous household chemicals
- Flammables/Poisons in marked containers
- Clear space around heat sources