around the edge of a door or window
Cold weather is coming to many areas, and it’s time to get your home ready for the season. Winter is a great time to make your house safer, more comfortable, and energy efficient. With just a few simple steps, you can protect yourself from burst pipes, frozen faucets, and other damage that comes with winter weather. Plus, you can make some changes that will help keep your home warmer and improve your energy efficiency. Here are seven things you can do to prepare your home for winter:
Improve Your Insulation
Insulation is a key component of energy efficiency, as it reduces heat transfer and drafts. In addition to being an effective way to keep your house warm in the winter, insulation also helps keep noise outside and drafty rooms at bay. If you already have attic insulation or insulation in other parts of the house, you may need insulation removal first so you can put in a better solution with a rating for colder temperatures. A couple of insulation options include fiberglass batt insulation and spray foam insulation.
Check the Furnace Filter
Check the furnace filter. You should do this at least twice a year, once in spring and again in fall. If you notice that your filter is dirty, it’s time to change it immediately. A dirty filter can cause your furnace to work harder than necessary and use more energy, which will cost you money on your utility bills. Additionally, all that buildup can become a fire hazard as well.
Clean Out Rain Gutters and Drains
Rain gutters are important because they keep rain from damaging your home. They also direct water away from your foundation, which can help prevent flooding and other problems. There are several ways for homeowners to maintain their gutters, including cleaning them out regularly and checking for clogs.
It’s recommended that you clean out the gutters on a regular basis—once each season if possible—so that they don’t become clogged or damaged beyond repair. To do this, use a ladder or step stool so that you can reach up into the gutters and remove any debris like leaves or dirt buildup with your hands or even some old rags. You may need to use a hose to get rid of any excess water afterward so that everything dries quickly.
Caulk Around Drafty Doors and Windows
Caulk is an easy way to fill small gaps in your home, like around the edge of a door or window. It can also be used to seal other areas where drafts may occur. For example, you can use caulking along the seam where your bathtub meets the wall to prevent heat loss through cracks and crevices. Caulking comes in many colors and textures that look like paint or grout, and there are even versions that have a wood-grain effect.
Install Storm Doors and Windows
If you want to keep the cold out of your home, installing storm doors and windows is a great first step. Storm doors and windows can be installed on the exterior or interior of existing doors and windows. They attach easily in very little time. Storm doors are great because they offer additional protection against wind and rain while still allowing easy access into your house.
Insulate Your Pipes
Another way to reduce your heating bill this winter is to insulate your pipes. The best time to do this is during the fall months when you’re doing other home maintenance tasks that require access to the basement or crawl space. If you have exposed pipes, use insulation on them to keep them from getting cold and causing frozen water lines. You can also use insulation around any unheated areas that house plumbing, such as attics or unheated rooms like in a garage.
Clean the Fireplace and Chimney
It’s also important to ensure that your fireplace is properly cleaned and in working order. Whether you use it every winter or just once in a while, having a clean fireplace will help keep the air quality in your home fresh and clear, and can reduce the risk of house fires caused by a dirty chimney.
To start, remove ashes, debris, and any other loose items from around your fireplace. Use a vacuum to clean out the flue—the opening for smoke or heat to escape—and make sure it’s free of any debris or blockages that could potentially cause problems later on. You can use a professional chimney sweep to ensure that everything is completely clean and ready for you to use on chilly days.