Winter is coming. By that, I mean it’s a brisk 52 degrees here in Virginia Beach during December. All jokes aside, we do still get low temperatures around here, as well as ice and snow. Knowing how to safeguard your home in the colder months is vital. Follow these steps to winterize your home. (See tips on keeping your pets safe in the winter here!)
Small leaks in your home you might not be aware exist can bring in drafts. Clogged gutters can cause ice buildup and leaks. Pipes can burst. These simple steps taken before winter sets her cold hands on your home can help with heating costs and prevent damages. Already cold where you are? It’s never to late to prepare!
SEAL WINDOWS AND DOORS
If you don’t have energy efficient windows, one of the simplest things to do to winterize your home is to seal them. Weather stripping tape is an inexpensive fix for drafty windows. Caulk works for leaks as well. While window insulation film isn’t the prettiest, it can help you save immensely on your heating bills. Draft guards fit under doors to help prevent cold leaks. Bonus? These will all help keep you cooler in the summer, too!
CLEAN THOSE GUTTERS
But it’s coooold. This is something best done before winter actually hits. Having build up in your gutters is never a good thing. In the winter, excess water can get trapped in clogged gutters. This means more dangerous icicles, as well as gutters that can come crashing down with the weight of ice. As a homeowner, you should be regularly keeping those gutters clear, anyways.Winterize means getting rid of any standing water that could freeze over.
WINTERIZE TEETERING TREES
That pine tree that’s always hovered menacingly over your bedroom window? Maybe it’s a good time to get that removed before the ice storms hit. Trim away any branches that look like they could be a problem once those cold winds kick up. Fences, sheds, cars, and homes can all be greatly impacted by a loose tree branch that just can’t hang on any more. A little additional weight from ice and snow can easily rip down an already askew branch.
DO YOU HAVE A CHIMNEY?
It’s easy to think that your fireplace will help you in the winter. While this can be true, you need to make sure it’s not full of last seasons’ soot. A cozy, crackling fire evokes true winter contentment. A fire traveling up the chimney, spreading to the roof? Not as much. Get your chimney professionally cleaned before you light those fires, so you can light them with confidence! Don’t plan on using your chimney? Winterize it! You can install a fireplace plug to prevent the draft from coming in.
Here’s a checklist of things you should always have on hand in the winter for your home:
- Bottled Water + nonperishable food
- Batteries + Flashlight
- Back up generator or a hand powered generator for small electronics
- Snow shovel
- Stand alone heater that can be used with generator
- Road salt/kitty litter/sand
- Firewood if applicable
DON’T LET YOUR PIPES FREEZE
Draining your hose is something most homeowners don’t think to do. Running your faucets at a very slow drip in freezing temps helps prevent burst pipes. Any pipes directly exposed to the weather should be insulated. Water damage is possible at all times of the year. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure to properly winterize it.