Baby it’s COLD outside! While we’re all aware that when rough weather hits that it’s time to get out and shovel the driveway and salt the sidewalk, did you know that there’s a lot more that you should be doing to prep your house for those long winter months? If this is news to you, read on for some tips and tricks to make sure your house is 100% winterized – especially if we hit those sub-zero temps.
1. Get your furnace serviced or tuned up
It’s probably not breaking news that the furnace heats your house, but if it stops working during a January blizzard you are going to be pretty bummed out.
2. Change the air filter to your furnace
This is one of the easiest things you can do, and air filters are available at most neighborhood and big box home improvement stores. The best thing is that they come in packs, so you can stock up for awhile…and they’re cheap!
3. Open cabinet doors beneath any and all faucet fixtures along outside walls
This is especially important if you plan on leaving town for a warmer climate at some point in the winter. Just simply leave those cabinet doors open and your pipes won’t freeze!
4. Have a slow drip on all faucets along all outside walls.
This goes hand-in-hand with the cabinet door recommendation. If you are skipping town, turn your faucets on so it has a slow trickle, as running water has a harder time freezing. Frozen pipes can burst and cause extensive water damage – certainly not something you want to come home to!
5. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order
This tip is really weather-agnostic, as you should make sure both are working properly no matter the season.
6. Always have a carbon monoxide detector near fireplaces
If you own a home with a fireplace, this is a MUST DO. Fireplaces are a common source of carbon monoxide, so you’ll want to place your detector close enough that it picks up on any dangerous gas immediately.
7. Ensure chimney flues are clear of soot build up
Another one for the fireplace owners – make sure this area is clear of creosote (a tar-like substance that that builds up inside the flue). Creosote build up can lead to a fire or carbon monoxide leakage – two things you definitely don’t want to deal with while roasting those chestnuts.
8. Make sure hose bibs are properly winterized
The last thing you want is for your outdoor hose to have any frozen water in it, as it can make your pipes burst and…well…you know the rest. Make sure you locate your shut-off valve inside your home, shut off the outdoor valve, detach your hoses, store the hose indoors and leave the faucets open for the winter (aka in the “on” position) to avoid disaster.
9. Clean your gutters
Some of the pesky leaves and “helicopters” from the trees could still be stuck in your gutters from the fall. If they are, you could be at risk for ice dams to form in your ceiling. That could lead to bubbling, leakage and more. Installing gutter guards and properly insulating your attic are great ways to prevent this…or just get up on that ladder and clean them out the old fashioned way.
10. Close blinds, shades, and curtains to windows to reduce heat loss
Have you ever touched your windows in the winter? They’re cold! If you want to keep the heat in, make sure your blinds, shades and curtains are shut, despite your neighbors thinking you are some kind of hermit (hey, maybe you are, and there’s no shame in taking a little hibernation this winter!).