Getting your home ready for another long, cold winter season can be a bit overwhelming. To make this process as stress-free as possible, we have some organization tips to help you keep your cool this winter—all while you stay warm inside.
Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore from HGTV highlight the financial benefits of early winter preparation, as they outweigh initial inconvenience:
Winter heating costs can skyrocket if your windows are poorly insulated, your plumbing breaks, or if the heating system is out-of-date. Ensuring that your home is prepped properly can save you a nice chunk of change for many years to come.
Work your preventative measures from the outside in.
Checking on the areas outside your home is critical in preventing the cold from creeping inside. Get a jumpstart on pre-winter maintenance early before it gets too cold to work outdoors comfortably.
Clogged gutters can cause water to back up against the house, damaging roofing, siding, and wood trim, as well as leaks and ice dams.
Damaged, loose, or missing shingles may leak during winter storms or from melting snow. Re-caulk gaps between siding and windows or door frames—silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and is resistant to elements.
Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets, turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
Draining your lawn irrigation system will also help in avoiding freezing and leaks. We recommended that you call in a professional for the job.
Before you start enjoying your warm, cozy fireplace, make sure your fireplace, chimney, and vents are clean and in good repair. Doing so will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide form creeping into your home.
Mulch leaves when you mow your lawn. By cutting the dry leaves into dime-sized pieces, they will fall among the grass blades, where they will decompose and nourish your lawn over the winter.
Now that you have covered all of the preventative measures from the outdoors, here’s a few more tips on how to protect the indoors from the cold:
Whether by a technician or yourself, it’s important to inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure that the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. An inspection by a technician would also measure for carbon-monoxide leakage.
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. The fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling, resulting in possible energy savings by allowing you to turn down your thermostat (keeping in mind that hot air rises).
Slowly pour several gallons of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months; however, it’s especially critical after a long, dry summer season and before a rainy one.
Be sure you have enough salt or ice melt before it starts to get icy (and before stores run out). Also make sure that past winter essentials like snow blowers and shovels are in good condition. Don’t wait until the first snow fall to restock them!
This to-do list might seem overwhelming. To save yourself from frustration and exhaustion, organize and break-down these tasks into small jobs that you can tackle over the next few weekends. You can make things even easier by dividing the job among the family assign everyone a room or area outdoors to inspect and report whether it needs attention.
If you follow these guidelines, your home will be more than ready for the winter season. All of your hard work and preparation will pay off!