When Winter is around the corner, it’s time to starting thinking about how to winterize your home. Each of these tips will help prevent costly issues, help save on utilities, keep you more comfortable, and relieve potential stress.
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Clean your gutters and check your roof – It’s important to keep your gutters and roof clear for multiple reasons. During the winter, you don’t want debris collecting and interrupting the flow of water away from the house. It can sit or turn into ice, which will cause damage to your home or cause even larger problems. While you’re up there, make sure there are no holes in the roof or gutters out of place.
Add attic insulation – Heat rises! It’s suggested to have at least 12 inches of insulation in the attic, but a little more doesn’t hurt! This will help you save on your utility bills while keeping your home comfortable.
Get a programmable thermostat – Speaking of saving on utility bills, programmable thermostats allow you to set your preferred temperatures while at home, away, or at different times of the day. Some of the smart thermostats even learn your habits and allow you to change the temperature from your phone.
Reverse your fan – Most ceiling fans have a summer mode and winter mode. Look for a little switch on your fan to reverse the rotation for the winter. Take a moment to clean off any dust before turning the fan back on.
Check alarms – Check the batteries in your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and any other safety alarms you might have in your home.
Shut off sprinkler systems and outdoor water – Any leftover water in your outdoor pipes can freeze and cause your pipes to burst.
Cover plants and landscaping – Protect your beloved plants! Many plants, especially in Texas, are not meant to weather the occasional harsh winter elements. Cover them with sheets or purchase plant covering from a hardware store or nursery. If they’re in pots and small enough, move them indoors or into a shed or garage. If you have any bushes or trees near the house, be sure to trim back the branches to prevent them from rubbing on your home’s exterior.
Replace weather stripping on doors – Keeps the cold air out, and the warm air in by replacing or adding weather stripping to doors and windows. It also prevents any little critters and creepy crawlies from slipping inside to make a new home for themselves – no thanks!
Flush water heater – Make sure your water heater is in good working condition. You can also save on fuel by wrapping the water heater with insulation and setting it to a temperature of 120 degrees.
Block any leaks – You’d be surprised at how many small air leaks are throughout your home. Most commonly you see these around doors and windows, but pay attention to electrical outlets and light switches too.
Insulate pipes – This includes hoses, faucets, and pipes. Attach some foam insulator or insulting tape to your outdoor plumbing. It’s a good idea to do this indoors as well under your sinks. Similarly, on especially cold nights, leave your faucets dripping and open the cabinet doors to keep things nice and warm.
Clean out chimney – If you have a working fireplace, clean out the chimney before you start it up for the first time this season. A chimney sweep can come clean and inspect for damage or maintenance problems. Be sure to shut the flue when not in use to prevent warm air from escaping or cold air entering.
Caulk windows – Similar to checking for leaks and adding weatherstripping on doors, a new bead of caulk along your windows can prevent and air leaks and help with humidity.
Decorate for the Holidays – Have fun with it! I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have a light timer or a wifi plug to control the lights while home or away.
Check out my blog post about green cleaning tips that can be done all year long to save even more time and money!