8 Simple Steps to Winterize Your Home
Ah, fall! The nights are getting longer and the days are getting chilly. Between carving a jack-o-lantern, kicking off football season, and getting your pumpkin spice on, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting ready for colder weather by winterizing your home. Like a bear preparing its den for hibernation during the fall, this is the best season to make sure your nest is warm and cozy when winter weather sets in.
1. Check heating system
When you start running your heater for the season, remember to replace the filter in your furnace. Last year’s filter will likely be dirty, and a dirty filter will clog the flow of air through the heating system. This causes your heater to have to work more and will likely drive up the cost of your energy bill.
Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to make sure it’s running properly and to identify any potential problems before they turn into costly major repairs.
2. Switch ceiling fans to winter mode
In summer, fans can be used to create a cool breeze, and in winter, they can circulate warm air, keeping the room at a moderate temperature. You’ll want your blades running clockwise during the winter months. Run your fans at a slow pace with the air blowing upwards. This will push the warm air near the ceiling down and circulate it throughout the room without blowing cold air.
3. Clean fireplace & chimney
It’s a good idea to call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney once every year or two. Fireplaces that are used regularly should have an annual cleaning at the beginning of the season to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Make sure to test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.
4. Check for drafts
You can use a small candle to check for drafts of escaping heat along the top of all exterior walls and some interior walls on upper floors that are likely to let out heat. The hot air in a home rises and will leak out at a much higher rate than you might think, creating pockets of unpleasantly chill air. This is mostly a problem without side walls, but air can also pass up through gaps in interior walls on upper floors and into the attic. Any warm air which passes out of a home is replaced by cold air infiltrating into a home. You’ll want to make sure that your walls are all weather sealed. Remove any damaged frames or crown molding and fill any gaps with minimum expanding foam or caulking.
5. Seal doors and windows
This may seem obvious, but small cracks in doors and windows can act as a vacuum and rob your home of warm air without you even knowing it! Before the temperatures get too low, spend time looking at each window and door in your home to be sure that weather stripping is properly installed and windows are closing properly. Take the time to caulk around your windows to make sure that warm air isn’t escaping and cold air isn’t blowing through hidden cracks.
6. Change the curtains
Thicker curtains are a good way to insulate your windows and sliding glass doors. Consider installing blackout or thermal curtains. When they’re closed, these curtains will provide an extra layer of protection by keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. Hanging heavier curtains during the winter months will also help keep your energy bills low.
7. Bring out the blankets
Swap your bedding to heavier fabrics like flannel or down when it starts getting colder. These fabrics are much thicker and more heavily insulated than cotton or linen-blends and will keep you cozy throughout the colder nights so you don’t have to get up to turn up the heater at night. You may even sleep better with heavier bedding, allowing you to stay warm and in a deep slumber without getting chilly during the night!
It’s also a good idea to bring out some extra blankets to put on beds, chairs, and sofas. Being able to reach for a nice warm blanket is a soft and comfortable alternative to turning up the heat. They will also add a nice soft touch to your home décor.
8. Stock up on winter supplies
Here are some indispensable cold-weather supplies that you should consider stocking up on—before you need one of the items in an emergency and are snowed in!
Snow shovels: Buy two shovels if you can. One for pushing snow and the other for lifting snow. The different styles make the work faster and also help to save your back from stress. There are even special shovels that allow you to rake the snow off of your roof.
Hand and foot warmers: Get a large box of disposable hand warmers for your hands and feet. Popping these into your boots and mitts before you go out allows you to stay out longer without freezing your fingers or toes off.
Ice Melt: This product is great for dealing with ice-build-up on sidewalks, driveways, and door-steps and is a smart thing to buy for safety reasons. In some cities, an injured person can sue you if they fall on walks located on your property or the city sidewalk in front of your residence that you are responsible for keeping ice-free.
While winterizing your home may be relatively inexpensive, more substantial remodels will cost you a pretty penny. If you want to tackle more projects before winter hits, consider a home renovation loan from SWBC Mortgage.