How Do I Winterize My Home?
Winter weather can be unforgiving to a house. These cold, wet, icy months can be unforgiving to your plumbing, roof, and gutters - not to mention your heating bill! Is your home ready to take on the cold weather? In case it's not, we've compiled these quick and easy DIY maintenance projects to help you keep your house protected and cozy this winter. Replacing a furnace filter
1. Replace the Furnace Filter
Replacing your HVAC air filter every one-to-three months benefits your home and your family. It helps keep allergens down to a minimum, while providing clean air to filter through your home. This is especially nice when cooped up in the house all winter.
2. Check Your Attic's Insulation
When you're up in the attic to bring down the holiday decorations, take a quick look around. If the ceiling rafters are exposed, add more insulation. There are a few different kinds of insulation to consider. Batts and blankets are the most common types. They come in convenient rolls that can be cut to size. Loose-fill fiberglass and cellulose use a blower to evenly distribute insulation throughout the attic. These blowers can be rented from your local hardware store. Don’t forget to insulate the drop down attic stairs!
3. Disconnect and Drain the Garden Hoses
Water left inside a garden hose can freeze and often cause the hose to split. Disconnecting and draining the hose and sprayer nozzle will save you the hassle of running out to get another hose in the springtime. Store the hose in the shed or garage.
4. Winterize Your Outdoor Water Spigots
After draining your hoses and sprayers, cover outdoor faucets to prevent pipes and spigots from freezing. Even better, find the shutoff valve for your outdoor faucets and close each valve. Open all faucets outside and let the remaining water drain out of the pipes to prevent freezing. If faucets can’t be shut off manually from the inside, use faucet protectors to help insulate and prevent freezing to outdoor faucets.
5. Insulate Any Exposed Pipes
A frozen and burst pipe can be an unpleasant and expensive surprise. Insulating exposed water pipes in your crawl space or garage will reduce the chance of freezing. Foam pipe insulation comes in different diameters and can be cut down to length to fit your piping needs. Split piping allows for the easiest installation. Tape up all joints to maximize efficiency.
6. Prevent Ice Damming
Icicles look pretty hanging from your gutter, but they're also among your home’s worst enemies. During the warmer parts of the day, ice can melt and pool behind hanging icicles. These ice dams can create serious problems for your roof, causing water to recess back up under your shingles. Eventually that water can leak through your ceiling, causing damage to the roof and interior walls. Roof cables can help prevent ice build-up in gutters and downspouts.
7. Cut Back Tree Branches
Take a fresh look at all of the trees on and around your property. If you notice dead branches, cut them back. Heavy snow buildup can make branches more prone to breaking, which can spell disaster if they land on top of your home.
8. Be Storm-ready
Bad weather can make or break your day. Be prepared by checking the condition of your snow thrower, shovels, gloves, and window scrapers. Keep them in good repair or replace them as needed. Have a stocked emergency kit in your car. For the complete picture of storm-readiness, check out our exclusive Storm Preparedness Guide.
Winter can be a busy time for everyone. Get a head start on your winter maintenance by making a list and checking it twice! Schedule some time to check and complete some of these home improvements to keep your holidays happy.