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.