The winter season brings unique challenges for every homeowner, but where you live plays a huge part in how you get your home ready for the cold. Whether you’re expecting to be snowed in or rained out, the drop in temperature can affect every aspect of your home. Here are ten things to keep in mind as fall ends and you begin to feel the chill in the air.
Obviously, some of these will be specific to places that get snow, but the rest is important regardless of location.
This step is listed first because it is essential for just about everyone out there. If you plan on cranking up the heater this December, you want to make sure that air isn’t escaping through cracks around your windows and under your doors. You’ll be left shivering as you wonder why your electricity bill is so high.
Look around your house and try caulking around all your windows to seal any gaps that might be there. You can also buy weather strips to put at the base of your doors that keep the warm air in and cool air out. Some cities offer free “energy audits” and similar services through the utility company so a professional can come in and point out problem areas in energy efficiency.
2. Clean the Gutters
This is important if you are expecting a lot of precipitation, rain or snow, during the winter. The buildup can stop the water or snow from flowing through the drainpipe and potentially cause water damage. In the case of snow, ice dams can occur, which may force excess water to leak through your roof.
You can always do this yourself, but it can be a pain to shovel all the leaves and dirt out of there. Depending on the size of your house, hiring someone to do it might be well worth your time and money. If you do decide to do it yourself, make sure to use a strong ladder and have someone at the bottom to keep it steady.
3. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
This is a little-known tip that can make a world of difference at no cost whatsoever. Check all the fans in your home. Most models have a switch at the base that reverses the direction the blades spin. If your fans are spinning clockwise, an updraft is created which constantly pushes the warmest air down and circulates it into the room. Just remember to switch them back once you start using the A/C again!
4. Clean House, Clean Mind
This tip isn’t so much for keeping you warm, but it will do wonders for your mental health. Think about it, winter is probably when we spend the most time indoors. Sitting cozy by the fire and reading a book will be all the more enjoyable if you have a clean house in which to do it.
Consider tasks like rug cleaning, chimney sweeping, scrubbing tiles, or upholstery cleaning. Cleaning your carpets and rugs is especially important if you have pets or children that have been dragging dirt in all summer. Being stuck inside because of cold weather can get us down sometimes, but it’s much harder to get cabin fever if the cabin smells nice and is pleasant to look at.
5. Dripping Water Saves Lives (and Pipes)
In areas that drop below freezing temperatures, pipes freeze and burst all too often. A good way to prevent this from happening is to keep your water at a slight drip as you go to bed every night. This keeps water flowing through your system, and flowing water is much less likely to freeze. You may think that this is a waste of water, but a couple of bucks that it will raise your utility bill by is still a lot cheaper than a $5000 emergency fix on a broken pipe.
Keeping these things in mind will make your winter transition a lot smoother. And just like with any season that brings inclement weather, stock up on essentials like non-perishable food and water in case you find yourself really snowed in one day.