Winter is coming and no, we are not just quoting the hit TV show Game of Thrones. As the final leaves and temperatures drop, maintenance and preparation for your home rises. Whether it is cleaning your gutters, checking your furnace or reversing the rotation on your ceiling fans, homeowners need to take the necessary precautions to prepare your homes for the cold months ahead.
That is why we are listing our five critical steps every homeowner must accomplish to prepare their home for the cold winter weather ahead. As always, the majority of these tasks can become your own DIY weekend project, but if you seek certified help and want to bypass all the hassle, you can easily find a contracting professional in your area here.
Five Steps to Winterize Your Home
1. Winterize Your Yard
Even if your entire yard is about to be covered in snow, raking leaves is a necessary task to maintain all lawns. As our friends at Home Advisor said recently, leaves are grass killers. Piles of leaves can ruin your grass and while you may not notice it in the winter, the brownish look it can leave on your lawn can take months to fix. In addition to raking leaves, homeowners need to also consider mulching their plants. Colder temperatures can force plants from the soil, preventing them from growing properly. Mulching your plants with straw or pine needless will help avert this process.
For more lawn maintenance tips and recommendations, see Why It’s Important to Practice Natural Lawn Care.
2. Prepare Heating System and Replace Furnace Filters
As I am sure many homeowners have noticed, the most important appliances tend to break right when we need it. No appliance is more relevant in the winter months than our heating systems and furnaces. We highly recommend locating a professional in your area to come and make sure everything is ready to go.
Also, be sure to change those furnace filters often. If you have not already done so, head to your nearest home improvement store and stock up on filters. The earlier you do, the cheaper they will be.
While you are at the store, you might as well get wood or coal for your fireplace. Not only will a properly maintained fireplace reduce your heating costs, but it also gives homeowners that homey and comfortable feel we all seek in the winter months. If we are staying in, we might as well be as comfortable as possible.
3. Caulk Your Windows and Doors
Cold air tends to make its way through the windows and doors, giving our heating system a much tougher time to do its job. The best way to overcome those frosty breezes is by caulking your windows and doors. No need to hire a contracting professional for this task as many forms of caulk and caulk guns are readily available and easy to use.
When you are caulking your windows and doors, be sure to always smooth out the lines with a wet finger. This will keep everything even, looking just as though a professional did it. Of all the tasks we mention in this article, this will be the simplest and yet, could you save you the most money on your heating bill.
4. Reverse Rotation of Ceiling Fans
Heat rises. It is a widely known fact, but many homeowners choose to ignore it when December comes along. In order to save energy and prevent the hot air from leaving your bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens, reverse the rotation of your ceiling fans to push the heat downwards. Ceiling fans should run clockwise in the winter. Many fans have a simple switch above the fan and others just use the cord hanging from the ceiling fan itself. Either way, make sure the fan has been turned off and completely paused before you attempt to change the rotation. As a result, all the hot air your furnace is generating will be gently pushed back down.
5. Wrap and Empty Your Pipes
The temperatures are declining and that means your pipes, inside and outside of your home, have the possibility of freezing, creating a very unpleasant invoice later on. Wrapping your pipes with insulation will halt the freezing process and save you cash. These foams can be bought at your local hardware store for relatively cheap.
Draining the pipes will also ensure nothing will freeze inside. Many pipes have manual valves you can open once you turn off your main water line. You may also need to open the waste valve to eliminate that extra water hanging around.
As is evident across the country, winter has essentially arrived and your home needs to be winterized as soon as possible. By following our simple steps above, all homeowners will not only save a boatload of cash on your heating bills and home maintenance, but also sleep soundly knowing your home is ready for the cold winter ahead.
If you would like help completing any of the preceding winterizing steps, be sure to contact a contactor in your area.