Updated: Oct 27, 2022
Whether we want to think about it or not, winter is right around the corner. These seven tips will help you weather the cold ahead.
Being in Nebraska as its weather can be as unpredictable as Mother Nature, this season can be tough on a house, especially during a cold, harsh winter. That’s why it’s important to winterize your home before chilly temperatures arrive.
Winterization is like an annual physical for your home. All major systems and structures are examined, tested, and repaired.
A winter checkup could also save you money. Energy-saving fixes alone could lower your monthly utility bill by 25%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
But don’t wait until it’s cold outside to take action. Get started on these seven winterization tasks now. Many projects can easily be done yourself. Or call a professional contractor to help you.
According to Fazzolari Construction the following is a handy checklist of items to get your home ready for winter.
Fix the Cracks
This is a very simple place to start: plug up any holes or cracks around the outside of your home. Any gaps where air can get in is a place where the cold can come along with it.
Look for these cracks and gaps near windows, doors, and hose faucets. You can use a good-quality acrylic latex caulk or expanding foam sealant to close any gaps. It is no good having a warm home if the warm air keeps getting replaced with the cold.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
It may seem rather strange to speak about ceiling fans when we are trying to heat our houses up and not cool them down. Trust us, when winterizing your home, you want to reverse the blades on your ceiling fan.
Fans rotate counterclockwise when they are cooling a room down. This sends the cool breeze down into a room. In winter, a reverse rotation will force warm air that is trapped at the ceiling downwards for you to enjoy.
To reverse the blades, you should find a setting on the motor housing or remote control. This is the easiest and cheapest tip to winterize your home if you have ceiling fans installed.
Make Sure Doors Are Airtight
The spaces on the top and bottom of the exterior doors are going to be hazardous going into winter. You need to make sure your doors are airtight in order to properly winterize your home.
Make sure the weatherstripping around the door is still in good shape. If not, make sure you get this redone before the cold months. If there are still gaps between the floor and the door, install a door sweep to close it up. You can tell there are gaps between your door and the floor if you see any sunlight shine through. This is a good indication that your door is not airtight.
Clean Your Gutters
You want to ensure that water is flowing freely in your gutters. If you do not regularly clean and inspect them, a buildup of debris and dirt can occur. This is particularly bad in winter as this buildup can freeze.
Frozen debris can cause ice dams which will eventually affect the flow of your water and can end up damaging your roof, causing it to leak. Do yourself a favor and make sure your gutters and downpipes are clean and ready for the winter.
You should also make sure to trickle some cold water through your faucets regularly to ensure water is moving through the pipes and is not freezing.
Add Insulation in Your Attic
One of the most effective ways to winterize your home and keep that warm air in is to check the insulation in your attic. You may find you have too little insulation, which means it is letting warm air escape up into the attic.
If this is the case, add insulation (usually a minimum of R-38 insulation) that is between 12 and 15 inches thick. This will help prevent warm air from flowing through it into your attic. Also make sure you caulk all seals, joints, and openings (like around ducts and pipes) so that there are no gaps for warm air to flow freely through.
Have Your Chimney Cleaned
It’s a good idea to have your chimney cleaned once a year in preparation for winter. Not only does this improve its heating efficiency, but it can help decrease the risk of a chimney fire. There could be debris or birds' nests in your chimney that could catch alight and cause damage to your home.
Change all of your filters
Go around the house and change your filters. This is something you should do often anyway but starting out the winter with fresh ones will only help. While you are at it, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and double-check your fire extinguishers!
Winter is nothing to fear if you have prepared well for it. No one wants to be stuck with a big electricity bill or a repair bill because their pipes froze over this winter. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about this if you follow the tips listed previously.
Most tips are easy to follow, and you can simply do them yourself. You may want to get help when it comes to checking your gutters and looking for cracks and holes though. Sort out any issues now before they develop into big problems later on.
Also, check out this handy chart for some additional tips as well: