How to Winterize Your Home: 15 Item Checklist
It’s that time of year again! Yes, time for holiday cheer and all, but more importantly, it’s time to Winterize your home!
As such, the team at Jennifer Young Homes has put together a ‘How to Winterize Your Home’ checklist to help get you started. We’ll begin with the exterior of the house and work our way inside, walking you through the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of it all. At the end of the blog, you’ll find the actual, printable checklist for your convenience.
With no time to waste, let’s dive in!
1. Clean the Gutters
You’ve undoubtedly heard this before, but we can’t emphasize enough the importance of this step. Cleaning out your gutters ensures water can flow smoothly, preventing icicles & ice dams from forming later. If possible, install gutter guards to prevent any future buildup.
2. Protect Your Pipes
Protect against frozen pipes by insulating any visible pipes on the exterior of the home plus any pipes in crawl spaces.
In the event of a drastic drop in temperatures, you may also want to leave any spickets dripping to ensure proper water flow. You may also want to go ahead and just empty the pipes and shut off the water completely in this instance. You should only be prepared to take this final step given severe temperatures.
Lastly on this point, consider having an emergency pressure release valve installed in your plumbing system as an added layer of protection for your pipes. Replacing burst pipes can be costly, so anything you can do to prevent this is wise!
3. Keep the Cold Out
There’s a number of things you can do to go about blocking the cold from coming into your house, including installing storm shutters, caulking any cracks or holes, using weatherstrip tape around seals like doors and windows, and utilizing draft guards.
4. Secure the Outdoors
Securing the outdoors includes trimming trees as ice and snow can cause branches to weaken, potentially damaging your home, car, or person; clearing the yard of any debris; preparing for slick areas by repairing any issues with handrails; protecting plants by bringing them in when temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and covering those that can’t be brought in; draining any water hoses and storing them inside; and bringing in large outdoor items like furniture and grills.
It’s important to mention that if you have a gas grill, you must first close the tank valves and disconnect the tank, which is to be stored outside, before bringing it inside. Lastly, if you don’t have the room to bring in big items like furniture or your grill, your next best bet is to purchase coverings.
5. Be Roof Ready
Replace any missing or damaged shingles to ensure you keep any moisture out! Be sure to wear non slip shoes or hire a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself.
6. Add Attic Insulation
Adding attic insulation is one of the most effective ways to keep your home safe and warm during the Winter.
We all know that hot air rises. When in a home, the hot air eventually finds its way to the attic. If the attic is not properly insulated, hot air is bound to escape.
Additionally, proper attic insulation lends to a healthy roof. An uninsulated attic can cause ice dams on a roof.
7. Service Your Fireplace
Before you build your first fire, be sure to check your chimney for any animals’ nests as they pose a fire hazard. Additionally, we don’t want to hurt any of our animal friends! Once you’re sure any nests are removed, you’ll want to sweep or vacuum out any soot or debris.
Beyond ensuring your chimney is clean & clear, consider installing a chimney balloon to prevent heat loss.
8. Install Electrical Outlet Gaskets
Most people are surprised to learn that a considerable amount of air flows both in and out electrical outlets. With a single home containing potentially dozens of outlets, this can result in a significant amount of heat loss in the Winter.
Installing electrical outlet gaskets can help prevent some of this from occurring.
9. Flush the Water Heater
Over time, particles and sediment can collect at the bottom of your water heating, inhibiting its efficiency. Ensure your water heater is able to operate at its full functionality by flushing the water heater of any sediments via the drain valve. Enlist the help of a professional if you’re unsure how to do this. Always better safe than sorry!
10. Install Smart Home Devices
Utilizing smart home devices like water leak detectors and programmable thermostats can ensure you’re on top of the health of your home & saving $ wherever you can (the two often go hand in hand)!
11. Test Your Detectors
Speaking of devices, be sure both fire and carbon monoxide detectors are all functioning properly, replacing any batteries as necessary. Additionally, smart home detectors are a thing as well, so be sure to consider this when evaluating smart home devices as mentioned above.
12. Check Your Heating System
This includes everything from replacing air filters to actually having your HVAC system evaluated by a licensed technician. Doing so can help you save massively on your energy bills and more so, give you peace of mind that you’ll remain warm throughout the Winter!
13. Run Ceiling Fans Clockwise
Rotating your fans clockwise creates an updraft, pulling cool air upward thus breaking up warm air trapped at the top. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to do so easily. Additionally, ceiling fans should run on the lowest speed during the Winter.
14. Stock up on Essentials
Stocking up on essentials is probably one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself and your family for the Winter ahead.
Essentials items include things like a snow shovel; ice scraper; ice melt; flashlights; battery-operated radio; extra batteries; emergency car kit, including extra blankets, a radio, ice scraper, a car charger, first aid kit, and jumper cables; nonperishable food items and water; extra baby formula or pet food.
15. Go the Extra Mile
Additional precautions include using a humidifier to prevent frost from forming and utilizing insulated window treatments to keep cold air out.
Now Go Forth & Be Warm!
We hope you’ve found today’s checklist on how to Winterize your home useful!
Remember, preparedness is key, so by taking some or all of the precautions on today’s list, you’ll be in a much safer (and ideally more relaxed) state this Winter season.
If you have any additional questions on how to Winterize your home, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always more than happy to help! And be sure to check out our blog with more helpful content like this and more on the way weekly!
DOWNLOAD YOUR HOME WINTERIZATION CHECKLIST HERE