Checklist of Steps to Winterize Your Home

With the approach of the cold weather, it’s essential to protect your home by taking several preventative measures through the colder months. Winterizing is typically a task you can do fairly inexpensively, but it will make a huge difference in the comfort of your home and could wind up saving you money on your energy bills as well. Here is a checklist of steps to winterize your home.

  1. Protect Your Pipes

Depending on the area of the U.S. you’re in, you’ll have to keep your pipes from bursting in the winter. When it freezes, water expands, but between a faucet and the freeze. As ice starts blocking the pipe completely and expands, the pressure of the water in the pipe increases. The pipe will rupture when there’s too much pressure.

What you’ll want to do is insulate your unprotected pipes while not leaving any insulation gaps. To simplify the process, you can use pipe sleeves. Make sure the pieces are tight against one another and seal the joints and slits with duct tape. Install UL-listed, thermostat-controlled heat cables and be sure to use cables that are adequate for your pipe while following the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Some manufacturers suggest you unplug the cables once the season ends.

  1. Check Your Heating System

The most crucial component for your home in the winter is perhaps the heating system and you should check your heating appliances and furnace no later than fall in October. Run your system to test it out and ensure all systems are operating.

Set the heat mode of your thermostat higher than the current temperature, just to test it. The furnace should kick on and within a few minutes, you should have warm air blowing. Replace the air filter with a new and clean filter. It’s simple and by changing the filter, it will ensure you have a cleaner environment and free flow of air. Check your supply of fuel and clean and inspect the heating vents. You’ll also want to check all your exhaust vents and ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks.

  1. Check Your Gutters

You should ideally clean your downspouts and gutters in mid-fall so you won’t have to double-check them when winter approaches. If you do notice leaking or clogs in hard to reach places, you’ll probably want to call in a professional.

  1. Have Your Roof Inspected

Have a professional check for roof shingle damage. They can also evaluate your roof’s integrity by performing an infrared roof inspection. This is where they use infrared rays to identify areas of the roof that are at a lower or higher temperature than the rest of the roof. These areas are referred to as “hot spots” and show the professional precisely where heat is escaping. Your roofing professional can tell you if you are at risk for ice dams and may need to implement some precautions, such as an attic fan.

  1. Winterize Your Whole House Fan

In cold climates, homeowners can substantially benefit from whole house fans. In the summertime, whole house fans bring in a nice breeze which creates superior comfort and better breathing and is more cost-effective than running an air conditioner. But, you must properly seal your whole house fan.

Most models have a closing mechanism or cover that shuts when you’re not using the fan which reduces heat loss. However, these covers don’t provide a tight seal and this means air can still escape. During the winter season, you could be letting warm air escape through your attic which reduces your house’s energy efficiency. What you could do is use insulation board to create a cover. This will help decrease heat loss.

These are only some of the many ways you can winterize your home. By taking the necessary steps to properly seal your home up for the winter, you can create a more energy-efficient environment, protect your home from winter-related damage and save money on your energy bills.