16 Ways You Can Winterize Your Home in One Weekend
We all have a lot going on in our lives. With all of the hustle and bustle in today’s society, it’s easy to forget to handle the tasks necessary to prepare your home for the winter. Most of us put these seemingly mundane tasks on the back burner in favor of our daily routines. However, it is essential to make sure your home is prepared. If it isn’t, you will find yourself spending more time and money this winter fixing things that should have been taken care of. Well, we’re going to show you how to handle all of those seemingly large tasks in one weekend; and most of these can be done with little or no expense.
1. Avoid damaging your pipes by having your sprinkler system winterized.
Your sprinkler is one of the easiest things to forget when preparing your home for winter. It’s usually programmed to run and many of us forget that it’s even there. However, it is extremely important to have it winterized before the first freeze. Water is constantly sitting in pipes and if the water freezes, it will compromise your whole system. That’s an expensive mistake! Have a professional swing by and winterize it every year. You can do it yourself too! Here is a helpful tutorial on how to use your air compressor to get the job done.
2. Rotate your ceiling fans clockwise to keep warm air from rising.
This is a small, simple task that can go a long way. We all know heat rises! During the warmer months, you want your ceiling fans rotating counter clockwise to get heat moving up and out of your house. However, switch it during the winter so it blows warm air collecting around your ceiling back down into your house.
3. Optimize your furnace by changing filters every month.
You should change your air filters about every three months. However, in the winter it is best to change your furnace filter every month to optimize its efficiency and keep it going longer. The process takes a few seconds: just find the filter, remove the cap, pull the old one out and replace it with a new one.
4. Increase your water heater’s efficiency by flushing it.
Sediment and dirt will collect in the bottom of your water heater over time. Many people do not realize this, but your water heater can be flushed, clearing out all of these particles and increasing efficiency. This only needs to be done annually or bi-annually. Check your pressure-relief gauge to make sure it’s working properly. Turn the power to the water heater off and trip the cold water line. Let the water heater cool off and open hot water faucets around the house to speed up the process. Then just open the drain valve and let the water drain into a bucket or floor drain if you have it.
5. Avoid potentially fatal icicles by cleaning your gutters out.
No one likes the look of large icicles on the side of their house, and depending on the design of your house, icicles could pose a fatal threat to family, guests and pets. Get yourself an EZsmart Gutter Cleaner and make sure your gutters are completely cleaned before winter hits.
6. Disconnect hoses from the side of your house.
Similar to having your sprinkler system winterized, disconnecting your hoses from the exterior spigot on your house is very important. Like sprinkler lines, hoses need to be winterized. They collect water and will damage your spigot line if left connected. Just unscrew them and leave them in your garage or shed for the winter.
7. Switch humidifier position.
If your humidifier has a knob on the side of it to switch between summer and winter, then do so accordingly. Winter is very dry and the humidifier will not be needed as much as during the summer. Switch the knob to the ‘winter’ setting as soon as the weather begins to change. Remember to switch it back to the ‘summer’ setting so that your walls don’t start sweating.
8. Change your humidifier panel.
Your humidifier is bringing in air that has dust and particles. When it mixes with the water, it can clog the filter. It is advised you switch this filter twice every season. The process is pretty simple and not any more difficult than changing batteries in your smoke detector -might not be a bad idea to switch those as well while you’re at it. If you want to do it yourself, follow these steps:
Remove the cover- Most covers should come off easily with a button or pressure panel that releases them.
Remove the old one- You should take out the enclosure that holds the humidifier water panel and swap the replacement unit.
Replace the enclosure- Once you have inserted the new unit, you should then replace the enclosure, making sure to put it back in the same way you took it out.
Ensure the unit is secure- You should secure whatever latch you used to release the enclosure and check to make sure it is stable.
Replace the cover- Once you have verified that everything looks like it did before, you can replace the cover.
9. Trim overhanging tree limbs.
Another danger that you may face in the winter months is overhanging tree limbs. Whether they are over your house or an entryway, it may be a good idea to trim the limbs back. During the winter, these limbs will get increasingly dry and freeze. This means there’s a higher risk of these breaking off and falling. Falling limbs could either damage your house or pose a risk to family and pets.
10. Avoid AC damage by loosely covering it if it’s in a drip zone.
Even though it’s winter, there will still be warm days where the temperatures are not low enough to freeze precipitation. That means water is getting into your AC unit and freezing in the coming days when temperatures do get below freezing. This is dangerous for your AC unit and can damage it beyond the point of repair. Cover it loosely so water cannot get in.
11. Install Draft Guards so your Heater isn’t working overtime.
Your thermostat is working based upon the temperature inside your home. Cold air entering your home underneath exterior homes brings down the temperature, meaning your heater will be running for a lot longer. Install draft guards to keep cold air out and interior temperatures higher.
12. It may not seem like much, but installing window insulation film will help a ton.
It’s not a very aesthetically pleasing option, but window insulation can help keep up to 70% of heat from escaping through your windows. It can cost under $40 dollars depending on the size of your home and amount of windows on your house. Whether you just keep them on for the winter or year round, if you are serious about saving money on heat this winter, this is a great option.
13. Install weatherstripping.
While we’re on the subject of keeping heat in the house and cold air out, weatherstripping is a must. Like we stated earlier, the two places where heat gets out and cold air gets in is your windows and doors. If you’ve got draft guards on your doors, and window insulation film installed, the final step would be to install weatherstripping to make sure they are sealed tight
14. Inspect the outside of your house, caulk cracks in the foundation and driveway.
If you have already read our Fall Home Checklist, you may have already done this. This is a tip to help prevent depreciation of your house more than just keeping heating costs low. Yes, caulking cracks in the foundation of your house will help keep hot air in and cold air out, but this goes beyond that. Walk the exterior of your home and caulk cracks in your foundation and driveway. For aesthetics, paint the caulk to match your home. In the spring, it would be a good idea to have these cracks professionally fixed.
15. Schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. Use a Chimney Balloon
If your home is equipped with a wood fire chimney, it is important to take care of it. If you haven’t had it cleaned or inspected in a few years, it’s probably a good idea to have that done. If you want to do it yourself, inspect the bricks and different parts of your chimney to make sure they are working. Then, buy a drop cloth and brushes with solution to start cleaning out your chimney. A vacuum will make this process a lot easier and cleaner. If yours doesn’t have a damper to keep cold air out, it would be in your best interest to buy a chimney balloon. They usually aren’t more than $40 and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
16. Program your thermostat so your heat can take a break when you aren’t there.
If you do not have a newer electric thermostat in your home, it might be time to upgrade. It will change your life in many ways, least of which is its programmability. If you have one, program it to allow the temperature to drop during the day while everyone is at work. This will mean the heater will run less during the day when no one is there, saving you money.
Every home and environment is different. Not everything on this list is going to apply to every person, but take each tip as it applies to you. For most, it is important to get it done before the winter hits, but overall it is important to at least complete these tasks. Find some time this weekend or schedule a weekend in the future when you can get these things done. It will save you a lot of money and headaches over the coming months! Winter is coming!