Preparing Your Home for Winter: 8 Expert Tips

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As the temperatures start to plummet, it’s essential to begin thinking about how to prepare your home. After all, winter temperatures are hard on houses, and unless you prepare correctly (and possibly enlist the help of home service providers), frigid weather can lead to damage and costly repairs. 

Fortunately, this is one situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With that in mind, here are our top tips to winterize your home:

8 Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Cold

Prepare your home for winter and prevent expensive damage with these eight must-do jobs:

1. Wrap Your Pipes

Burst pipes can easily cause $5,000 or more in damage to the interior of your home. Protect yourself by wrapping your pipes in store-bought pipe installation, which you can find at your local hardware store. Apply the insulation to any exposed PVC or copper pipe in your home. 

For added protection, use it under your sinks, in your crawl spaces, and on pipes along your exterior walls. Pay special attention to areas of the home that tend to stay cold, as the pipes there are at increased risk of freezing and bursting. 

2. Clean Your Chimney

Your chimney serves an important purpose: it carries dangerous flue gassed up, away from your living space, and safely out of the home. 

Over time, though, the byproducts of the combustion process (including creosote) can build up in the chimney, creating a sticky and highly flammable residue that puts your home at risk of a chimney fire. To avoid this buildup, have your chimney serviced and inspected at least once each year. 

3. Insulate Attics and Crawl Spaces

Keep your home comfortable and reduce your annual electric bill by insulating your attic before the season’s coldest temperatures arrive. Not only will this keep the attic at a safe, efficient temperature, but it may prevent additional complications, like ice damming on your roof. While there are many household jobs you can DIY, insulating your attic isn’t one of them. Instead, hire a handyman to help. 

4. Clean Your Gutters

Your home’s gutters serve collect runoff and direct it away from your home and your foundation. To keep them working correctly, clean them before the weather starts to get cold. 

For best results, remove all buildup from the gutter and check all gutter connections to make sure there’s an unbroken channel for runoff to follow through downspouts. If you‘re concerned about water freezing in your gutters, invest in gutter heating cables to keep the gutters clean and debris-free. 

5. Install Storm Windows

Storm windows create an insulating layer of air that sits between your home and the cold, outside environment. Reinstall them before the weather cools down, and leave them in place all winter. 

If you need help, look for a skilled professional to install storm windows for you. While many people believe storm gutters are only applicable to older homes, they can also be helpful over new, double-pane windows.

6. Repair Your Pavers

Walking in the winter is treacherous enough without broken pavers to think about. Protect yourself, your holiday guests, and the other members of your household by repairing loose patio stones or pavers before the natural freeze cycle begins. Look for a handyman to help, as this can be a big job.

7. Trim Trees

If the trees around your home have dead or ailing limbs, winter conditions can cause them to break off and land in your yard or, worse, onto your roof. To prevent this, prune the trees on your property regularly. Before the cold weather hits, hire a tree service, landscape contractor, or arborist to remove any dead or ailing limbs.

8. Secure Outdoor Water Sources

Prevent broken pipes and frozen spigots by draining and storing all garden hoses, sprinklers, and outdoor water faucets before the first frost. Shut off the water supply valve that feeds your outdoor hose bibs and open outdoor spigots all the way to release any water trapped inside.  

Get a Helping Hand for Home Winterization

Home winterization is critical, but you don’t have to go it alone. Instead, use our home services app, Jonny On It, to find skilled home service providers, including plumbers, roofers, cleaners, and more. Download the app today to get started. 

5 Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

5 Maintenance New Year's Resolutions for Homeowners

Each year, January rolls around, and you set resolutions. Maybe you want to lose weight, learn a new language, or travel to that bucket-list destination. Those are all excellent resolutions, but what goals are you setting for your home? Is home maintenance one of them?

This year, expand your resolutions by extending a few to your home. With just a little attention, you can make your home a more beautiful, efficient, enjoyable place to live in the coming year.

Here are a few of our favorite suggestions:

1. Declutter

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to overhaul your home this season is to get rid of the clutter. In addition to making living in the house difficult and inconvenient, clutter also increases stress levels, creates distraction, and can even trigger physical reactions, like allergies.  

With this in mind, take some time at the start of the new year to declutter your home room-by-room. Get rid of anything you don’t use by donating or giving it away. If you don’t want to haul it yourself, look for a junk removal company to do it for you. 

Once you’ve gotten rid of excess belongings, be mindful of what you acquire during the new year. Keeping your space clutter-free can be harder than it seems. 

2. Give Your Home a Safety Check

Is your home as safe as it should be? The New Year is a great time to find out. This year, resolve to check your house for radon

A colorless, odorless gas, radon is responsible for approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Today, about one in every fifteen homes has elevated radon levels. Fortunately, test kits are affordable, easy to use, and available at your local hardware storer.

Additionally, you should check your home vents, test for lead paint and asbestos, and make sure all smoke detectors are current and have fresh batteries. 

3. Come up With a Weekly Cleaning Schedule

Instead of letting housekeeping get overwhelming, keep it manageable by breaking it down into these daily, weekly, and monthly tasks:

  • Daily. Put the dishes in the dishwasher and run it if it’s full. Put dirty clothes in the hamper and hang up clean clothes. Sweep or vacuum if you have a house with kids or pets, and sort mail to avoid pileups.
  • Weekly. Clean the entire house, including the bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, and shared spaces. Sweep and mop all floors and wipe down glass surfaces. 
  • Monthly. Wash pet beds and throw blankets, rinse houseplants to get rid of dust, clean out freezers, and wash shower curtains.

You don’t have to wear yourself out with sporadic deep cleans for your home. Instead, keep your space comfortable and fresh by making cleaning a regular habit. 

4. Fix Pain Points

Has that broken blind been bothering you for a month? What about that loose dresser pull, or the crammed Tupperware drawer? If so, you’re not alone. Simple home maintenance tasks escape even the most attentive homeowners.

Fortunately, you can make your home a more comfortable, enjoyable place by resolving these maintenance issues now. Most of them will take only a few minutes, and will make your quality of life much better, immediately. If you don’t want to do these jobs on your own, hire a handyman who can help. 

5. Make Your Home More Efficient

You don’t have to add solar panels or a composting toilet to your home to make it more efficient. Instead, look into small things that can make a big difference. Here are a few of our top tips:

  • Turn off lights when you leave the room
  • Install LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads
  • Invest in a smart thermostat that will adjust to your schedule and keep your home at the optimal temperature
  • Water your yard less, or consider installing drought-tolerant plants
  • Seal leaks in your home’s windows, doors, and caulking

Say Hello to the New Year in Your New Home

You don’t have to remodel or move to enjoy a new home in the coming year. With just a few actions, you can transform your space and enjoy a home that feels fresh and clean in 2020.  

Even better – you don’t have to do it on your own. 

If you need help fixing small repairs, plumbing, home cleaning, painting, or virtually anything else, our team can help. Use our home services app, Jonny On It, to quickly find repair professionals to save you time this year.