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How to Winterize Your Home

Amber is a writer with a diverse amount of knowledge and experience on various topics, including budgeting, parenting, and many more!

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If you live in an area with harsh winters, it's important to winterize your home before cold temperatures hit. Winterizing a house can help you save money on heating bills and on future repairs that you'll have to deal with if you don't winterize your home. These winterization tips will help you learn how to prepare your home and your family for winter as well as how to prevent common winter occurrences.

Winterize Pipes

Pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures are likely to freeze during the winter. This is common in pipes that are located along exterior walls in your home. Unfortunately, this is a common place for bathrooms and kitchen sinks. It's critical to protect them before cold weather hits.

Leave Water Running

To protect your pipes, leave them turned on so that they are slightly dripping when freezing weather hits. It's more difficult for moving water to freeze, so this single tip could help protect your pipes.

Wrap Pipes in Insulation

Wrap your pipes in installation to provide additional protection. You can also use thermal tape to help keep the warmth inside. This is a great idea if your pipes tend to freeze every winter.

Open Cabinet Doors

Open cabinet doors under sinks to help prevent pipes from freezing. This single thing helps warm air circulate around the pipes that lead to your sink.

Install a Heater Vent in the Crawl Space

Running a heater vent underneath your floor to heat your pipes is another great idea. While this is more expensive, it's extremely effective. I used to live in a house that had a bathroom extension with no heat. The pipes froze every winter no matter what I did. One winter, they burst. The landlord ripped up the floor and installed a heater vent to run underneath the floor. The pipes never froze again, and I lived there for almost ten more years.

Leave faucets dripping to prevent pipes from freezing

Leave faucets dripping to prevent pipes from freezing

Winterize Crawl Spaces

The crawl spaces underneath your home could be the culprit for cold drafts in your home. These crawl spaces can also lead to frozen pipes. Prepare them for winter by installing heater vents, wrapping pipes in insulation, and by putting insulation along the exterior of the crawl space to help keep it warm.

Double-Check Your Fireplace

Buildup in your fireplace or animal nests in your chimney can be hazardous. Soot in your chimney can also be a hazard. Before you start building fires this winter, make sure that you have your chimney cleaned and clean out your fireplace.

Store Outdoor Furniture and Equipment

If your outdoor furniture and equipment, such as your grill, have to be stored outdoors make sure that you cover it to protect it from the elements. Storing them inside of a shed or garage is a better idea if you can.

Outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers and weedeaters will need to be cleaned. After they are thoroughly cleaned, put them away for the winter.

Check Winter Equipment

Before winter hits, it's critical to check your equipment. Make sure that your snow shovel is in good repair and that your snowblower starts fine. You don't want to wait until winter to discover that your snowblower won't stay running.

Clean Gutters Before Winter

When you have clean gutters, the snow that melts on your roof will be able to properly runoff. After the leaves are done falling, make sure that you thoroughly clean your gutters. While this won't help you save money on heating bills, it is still an important part of home winterization.

Make Sure You Have the Right Thermostat 

Investing in a programmable thermostat, which is also called a smart thermostat, can help you keep your heating bills low. Program your thermostat for a comfortable temperature when you're home, and lower the temperature when you'll be away. If you do this, your furnace will only run when you need it to. Most homeowners save so much money that the cost of a programmable thermostat is paid for with the savings on their heat bill.

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Make Roof Repairs

If your roof is in poor repair, it's not going to hold up well under harsh winter conditions and mountains of snow. As the snow melts, your roof will leak. Take the time to inspect your roof or hire a trustworthy contractor to do it for you. Then, make sure that repairs are completed before winter weather hits.

Change Furnace Filter

When a furnace filter is covered in dirt and dust, it takes your furnace longer to heat your home, drastically increasing your heating bill. This is because your furnace has to work harder when it has a dirty filter. To save money on your heating bill, make sure that you change your furnace filter once before winter hits and once every three months throughout the colder months to guarantee that it always has a clean filter.

Make Sure You Have Winter Weather Supplies

There are certain things that everyone needs during the winter. It's best to purchase them before winter weather hits. There is a good chance that you won't be able to find them if you wait until the last minute. Make sure that you have salt to melt ice, a snow shovel, and an ice scraper for your car.

how-to-winterize-your-home

Winterize Your Windows

Winterizing your windows can help you save hundreds on your heating bills this winter. You have plenty of options that can help you keep your heat indoors where it belongs.

Window Insulation

Amazon sells window insulation film kits for those on a budget. These are easy to use and require no previous experience. However, they are not the most attractive option.

Insulating Window Treatments

Upgrading your window treatments to save money on heating bills is a more expensive, yet more attractive, option. Invest in thermal insulating curtains, and make sure that they completely cover the windows. This can help prevent heat loss as well. This method is most effective when used in combination with other window insulation options.

Draft Guards

Using a draft guard is a great idea if you have large cracks in between the pieces of your window. Draft stoppers are designed to stop drafts that come in through the large crack at the bottom of your door. However, they are often the perfect size for you to set them on top of your window to stop drafts too.

Foam Insulation

Foam insulation can be used to fill in cracks around a window. They sell cans of this at most hardware and home improvement stores. Keep in mind that this is a more permanent fix, so you'll want to make sure that you only use it in places that you're okay with it being forever. Spray foam insulation tends to expand, so you'll need to pick up a chisel to scrape off the excess.

Prepare Landscaping

If you have a Koi pond, it's important to winterize your pond before winter hits. Make sure that you bring plants inside if they cannot survive the cold weather. You'll want to do this long before the temperatures drop to make sure that your plants don't die.

Make sure that you trim away or cut off large tree branches that could cause damage to your home. They can break if you receive a lot of snow. Some branches simply cannot bear the weight of heavy snow.

Save on Energy Bills

Regardless of how much winterization you do, you're still going to face high energy costs this winter. Tips like installing storm windows are great, but there's also the possibility that storm windows aren't in the budget. These tips will help you save money on both your electric bill and gas bill.

Clean Underneath of the Hot Water Tank

Loose dirt and other particles can make their way underneath your water heater. These can slowly kill the efficiency of your heater, costing you more in the long run. Make sure to sweep or vacuum underneath your water heater to save money on either your gas or electric bill.

Install a Storm Door

Storm doors provide an additional layer of protection from extreme temperatures. These can help prevent drafts from coming through your door during the harsh winter weather, and they can help keep your home cool in the summer.

Utilize Your Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can help you stay cool in the summer, and they can help you stay warm in the winter. When you are winterizing your home, take the time to make your ceiling fans spin in a clockwise direction. Heat tends to rise, and this motion will push the heat back towards the floor to keep you warm this winter and help you save on heating costs.

Energy Saving Lightbulbs

Energy saving lightbulbs can instantly help reduce your electric bill. These lightbulbs are more expensive than others, but they often last longer while simultaneously saving you money.

Pick Up A Water Heater Blanket

A water heater blanket is a large insulating blanket that wraps around your water heater. These blankets help prevent heat loss so that your water heater does not have to continuously heat up the water inside. When your water heater doesn't have to work as hard, you'll save money on your energy bills.

how-to-winterize-your-home

Prepare For a Power Outage

As a part of your home winterization, you need to double check your emergency supplies. If you don't have emergency supplies, it's important to get them before the next big storm hits. This should be a part of your home winterization efforts yearly.

Imagine that you were suddenly stuck without power. The roads are covered in ice and several feet of snow that makes it almost impossible to go anywhere safely. This could be a situation that you find yourself in. Keep these tips in mind when preparing for future winter storms.

A Source of Light

Flashlights and candles are classic examples that most people include in their emergency kit. However, thanks to the millions of preppers, there is now much better equipment you can invest in. Solar powered lanterns are an exceptional option. Battery powered lanterns are another great idea.

Make sure that you have an extra battery or two as well. It's hard to find batteries in a power outage.

Whenever possible, opt for solar powered items. You will never have to worry about your batteries dying!

Weather Radio

Having a weather radio is essential during a power outage to keep you updated. I personally have a solar powered radio that can be charged using both solar power and a hand crank. It even has a USB port for charging your phone! You can pick one up on Amazon.

Water

When cities lose power for an extended period of time, their water treatment plants are unable to filter water, making the drinking water toxic. If you have no power, you might have a hard time boiling water. It's always good to have one gallon of water per person per day. Add an extra 1/2 gallon per pet per day.

Always Have Extra Food

Make sure that you have food put back that doesn't require preparation. For example:

  • Granola bars
  • Pop tarts
  • Dehydrated fruit
  • Crackers and peanut butter
  • Canned soup that doesn't require water
  • Ravioli

Make sure that you check the expiration date on items before storing them in your winter emergency kit. It's also a good idea to pick up plastic silverware and paper plates so that you can simply throw them in the trash later.

Don't forget to pick up some extra pet food. You don't want your furry friends to do without!

Keep Food Cold by Sitting it Outside

The one benefit of having a power outage in the middle of the winter is that you can simply sit your food outside to keep it cold if you need to. You can also collect snow to pack into a cooler so that food doesn't spoil.

Supplies to Keep Warm

During a winter power outage, one of your top priorities will be keeping warm. You can't use camping equipment like a rocket stove inside, so it's important that you have other products to stay warm. You'll also need to know a few tips and tricks for keeping warm.

Blankets

Make sure that you have plenty of blankets. You can layer them on top of each other to stay warm when you're sleeping. Blankets can also be used as insulation when creating a microenvironment. This could easily save your life during a power outage.

Investing in a few zero degree sleeping bags is always a great idea! These will keep you toasty warm on those frigid cold nights.

Warm Clothing

Make sure that you have plenty of warm clothing. Pick up a few extra hoodies in different sizes so that you can use them for layering. Thick wool socks are another great idea! Pick up enough clothing for a few days because you probably won't be able to do laundry during a power outage.

An Extra Heat Source

In an ideal situation, you would have a heater with an alternative fuel source. You can pick up a propane or kerosene heater with extra fuel cheaper during the summer months. Make sure that you have an alternative source of heat before winter hits. Most places sell out quickly once there is colder weather.

Pick Up a Portable Generator

A portable generator is a generator that runs on another power source, such as solar or gas. They come in various sizes. You can pick up a large one that will power your fridge and other major appliances. Small generators are also available to power things such as a cell phone or other electronic devices.

In Conclusion

Winter weather has the potential to wreak havoc on both your home and your family. Make sure that you're prepared by properly winterizing your home. Then, prepare for power outages that may come with the next winter storm to keep your family safe.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Amber Lynn

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