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It’s arrives before you know it. You go from cutting your grass and tending to the garden to suddenly raking leaves and planning for holiday meals. When did winter show up, you may ask?! In the blink of an eye it may seem to arrive, but in many blinks of your own eyes, have you started to think about how to prepare your home for winter? Before you put away the lawnmower and call the garden done for the year, there are a number of things you should be thinking about to winterize your home and ensure you’re ready for Old Man Winter when he arrives.
1) Put on storm doors.
Sure, some of us prefer to keep the screen doors on all year long because it’s the easy (or lazy) thing to do. Screen doors allow fresh air to free flow during spring and summer seasons but that’s not what you want in winter. Storm doors can save energy by helping to regulate your home’s temperature. It’s quick to do and will save you in the long run.
2) Check the gutters.
Speaking from experience, it’s worth getting up on a ladder or your roof (if safe enough to do) and inspect for any build up of leaves or clogged gutters. Don't forget to check the downspouts too. If left in place, clogged gutters or downspouts can lead to ice dams, that can lead to a whole mess of other issues.
3) Seal openings to prevent cold air from seeping in.
Use easy to install weather stripping around doors and windows. DIY tip: check with your local electric utility company, as many offer free energy saving kits to homeowners that include weather stripping.
4) Replace furnace filters.
When our website visitors ask us "how do I winterize my home," this tip on the checklist is a sure-fire, easy one to provide. Your furnace will be working extra hard in the coldest weather, so don’t let a dirty air filter hamper that performance. You could be restricting air flow by 30% or more with a dirty filter. Standard filters should be changed on average every 30-45 days.
5) Disconnect hoses.
Often overlooked in home winter preparation is the hose holder or hose reel in the yard. Disconnect each hose from the faucet and also drain the water left in the hose before the first freeze.
6) Seal up decks.
If you have a wood deck on your home, this is a good time to put a coat of sealant on to prepare for the wrath of winter weather than can potentially wreak havoc on wood surfaces.
7) Fertilize your grass.
Before winter sets in, a great way to winterize your yard is to put down a winterizing mix of grass fertilizer. Your local home improvement store likely will have pallets of the recommended winterizing fertilizer on display by mid-late fall.
8) Check your detectors (smoke and carbon monoxide).
Just before winter it’s a good idea to replace batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors around the home.
9) Protect pipes from freezing.
If you have pipes that run near outside walls it’s a good idea to put insulation on them to prevent freezing in the home. In areas such as under kitchen sinks, it’s even a good idea to leave cabinet doors open on extreme temperature nights to allow heat from the room to warm up under the cabinets.
10) Get the shovels ready.
Now that the mower is put away, it’s time to put the shovels and snow blowers into the garage or near the house for easy access. Speaking again from experience, it’s not always pleasant to have to dig out your shed from a foot of snow just to access your shovel that you needed to dig out your shed!
We hope this home winterizing checklist was helpful. And if you have a great tip that we didn’t capture here, let us know and we’ll consider adding it to our website. The time and effort you put into preparing your home for winter should not be substantial but the payoff to your family will be over the long run. Put in the winter prep time now where you live and rest later when the temp’s are bitterly cold.
Don’t forget, come back to our website as spring, summer, and fall approach to get our seasonal checklists to get your yard, garden, and home ready for every season!
Stay warm, stay safe, and stay winterized.