The Halloween decorations are coming down, and you’re probably starting to think about everything that goes along with the crazy busy holiday season — visiting family, Thanksgiving dinner, gift-giving. Just don’t forget that this is also the time to winterize your home for the winter. Winter can be rough on a house, from strong winds to snow accumulation on the roof. Regardless of the outside temperature, take some time out to start winterizing. You’ll save money and effort when the cold really kicks in.
You may not have turned the furnace on in months, so take this time to open up the closet door and shed light on this major appliance. Inspect all the wiring and hoses leading into the furnace, but avoid touching any exposed wires. If anything appears out of the ordinary, contact an HVAC professional. Pull the filter out and either replace or rinse it out, depending on your model. The filter is the most important winterizing part because it prolongs the life of the furnace.
Pull Out the Caulk
Your caulk gun becomes your best friend around fall because it fills in all the crevices drafts find in the winter. Match the caulk color to the area in question and fill it. Try adding some weatherstripping around doors while you repair any frame issues with the caulk. Stopping even the slightest draft into the home reduces energy loss and makes winter easier to deal with until spring. Here is a DIY guide to weatherstripping from This Old House.
If you live in an area that stays cold for most of winter, add plastic sheeting to the windows. You won’t be opening them anytime soon so this extra draft barrier curbs winds finding their way through glass, especially single pane types. Apply the plastic tightly to the window so it becomes almost invisible. Cover as many windows as possible for the best winterizing effect. In the spring, it’s a simple removal process to air out the house.
Winterizing your attic may not come to mind immediately, but it’s the space that loses the most energy without proper insulation. Take a trip into the attic and look around for exposed ceilings. Take an insulation roll and generously fill or cover any exposed attic areas. You’ll notice the home remains warmer in the winter when heat isn’t escaping through the attic. Because heat rises, it becomes trapped in the attic as it forms a blanket to the remaining areas of the home.
Cover and Drain
Areas with freezing temperatures affect both pools and air conditioning units. Cover both items with sturdy tarps. You’ll see less damage in the spring with protected outdoor components. Consider draining the pool and definitely remove the liquid within AC hoses. Liquids expand and contract greatly with freezing temperatures. Cracked hoses and pool accessories are often expensive to replace.
Even if you don’t have many deciduous trees in the area, always clean out the home’s rain gutters as fall draws to a close. You want rain and snow to easily flow through the gutters to protect the foundation and system itself. Ice dams and debris blockages only contribute to gutter damage and possible home issues. When you have gutters on a two- or three-story home, call a professional to clean them out. The extra labor is worth the safety you retain. Professionals have the tools and expertise to clean effectively.
With the right winterizing processes, you’ll see a significant difference on energy bills and thwarting possible damage come spring. Keep an eye on all pipes and hoses that come into contact with the cold. If you observe and care for household components during the winter, you’ll find little to fix in the spring and summer. For more, home weatherization ideas check out Energy.gov
About The Author
Tim Smith is a former contractor who blogs about home improvement and energy efficiency topics. He lives with his wife in Austin, TX. Tim works for Modernize. For more information about the types of home insulation available for your home click here.