10 Ways to Prep Your Home for Winter

winterizing-homeWith fall here, that can only mean one thing: winter is around the corner. Winterizing your home can be tricky, especially if you live in an older home with poor insulation. Whether you live in a 150-year-old home or a new family starter, you should consider the many ways to begin preparing your house for the coldest months of the year. Without proper winter preparation, you might find unwanted damages to your home and an uncomfortable living space. Here’s how you can begin preping your home for the winter:

1. Line Your Windows with Protective Plastic
This easy, and inexpensive tactic will not only save you money on sky-rocketing heating bills, but also save you the numbness and pain of a freezing household. Homeowners can purchase thick plastic lining specific for windows from any local grocery or hardware store.

2. Caulk Windows and Doors
If you desire, you can go a step further and seal your windows and door frames with some caulk for the winter. This will do the same trick as adding a plastic protective layer to the windows, but ensuring that any cracks that could be letting cold air in and warm air out are sealed.

3. Have Your Heating System Inspected
For around one hundred dollars, a technician can come to your home to tune up your furnace or heat pump. They can inspect wheather or not the system needs a repair or if you’re in good shape. It’s well worth the money spent to have it checked out.

4. Check Your Home Insulation
If your home is prone to icicle build-up, it’s likely that you have poor insulation. Call in a home-energy inspector to take a look for any air leaks or insulation problems in your walls and ceilings. Insulation is meant to keep warm air in, and cold air out, as well as prevent icicles from building on your roof and gutters.

5. Repair Any Missing or Loose Roof Shingles
It might be only one shingle missing, but it only takes one for snow to fall and melt into the open airways of your home. Winter storms can be brutal and melting snow accumulating in your attic will result in damaged and water logged ceilings–leaving you with more expenses down the road.

6. Clean Out Your Gutters
Debris and leaves building up in your water spouts and gutters will eventually lead to ice dams and possibly water leaks. Ice dams will build up, and, if left ignored, will melt in the spring time and result in flooding and damaged siding, roof, and gutters.

7. Drain Water Drains and Garden Hoses
Leaving undrained water in pipes when it gets cold leads to terrible cirumstances. Pipes can burst, and those pipes leading into your home? They can burst as well. Be sure to drain any excess water that may be sitting in any garden hose faucets to prevent freezing pipes.

8. Drain Your Sprinkler System
In addition, you’ll want to make sure your sprinkler system is not full of water. The ground becomes extremely cold during the winter–almost rock-hard. Water in the lines will freeze and lead to bursting pipes and a damaged system. Even worse, the lines leading to your home will back up and result in flooding when it becomes warmer.

9. Test Your Sump Pump
Your basement should have a sump pump in it to catch any excess water from outside. You can test your sump pump by reading and following these instructions. If your sump pump is not operating correctly in the winter, you may find flooding in your basement.

10. Inspect the Chimney
You should always inspect your chimney before the winter. You want to ensure that the chimney itself is clean and in good repair, as well as the vents. This will ultimately prevent any house fires or carbon monoxide build up when you’re using the fireplace.

About the Author: Greg is a guest contributor from Kramer & Co. Mechanical, providing furnace, central air, and plumbing services for all of Benton and Washington counties in Arkansas.

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