December is here, which means it’s time to ask yourself: Have you been accurately preparing your home for winter? You might have already hung the lights and put the tree up, but there are some key steps that you should take to make sure your home is ready for the cold weather.
Here are 8 ways you should be preparing your home for winter:
If you’re in a house…
Assess your pipes
Frozen pipes can quickly cause flooding, structural damage, and mold. Take a preemptive step by insulating your home’s pipes where possible, disconnecting garden hoses, keeping the heat on (even at a lower temperature when you leave), or sealing up cracks or holes around pipes. If you’re not sure where to start, contact a professional to inspect your pipes (we can connect you with one if needed).
Clear hazardous foliage
Remove dead or dying branches and trees from around the house (or hire an arborist to do so). With winter comes heavy snow and ice storms, which can break even the heftiest of trees and cause damage to your roof, windows, and vehicles.
Replace weather stripping
Replacing weather stripping is an easy and affordable way for preparing your home for winter. If your home is older, it’s an especially important step as many older doors and windows aren’t the best at keeping heat in.
There are a variety of options to replace old weather stripping, including vinyl, felt, rubber, foam tape, or V stripping. You can buy weather stripping kits or door sweeps at most hardware stores, all you have to do is find one that matches your door.
Maintain heating systems
Schedule a professional to come in and check your furnace, chimney, and venting system before it gets too cold. There’s no worse time for your heating systems to go down than right before the holidays!
If you’re in a condo…
Weather-proof doors & windows
Inspect your windows, and the door to your balcony if you have one, to see if you feel any drafts coming through and if the caulking or weather stripping is cracked or broken. If so, there are easy, cost-friendly fixes that can usually be done yourself with some new caulking or weather stripping supplies from the local hardware store. You can also add a draft guard under any exterior doors that have gaps underneath them.
Purchase a rug or two
Area rugs and hallway runners are inexpensive, cozy additions to any condo with cold hardwood or laminate flooring. Wool is the best option since it is a great insulator. If you need a more budget-friendly option, look for a rug made of cotton, nylon, or acrylic.
Go energy efficient
A big part of preparing your home for the winter is making sure it’s as energy-efficient as possible. If possible, replace the unit’s thermostat with a programmable one to better control the temperature. A room humidifier can also help raise the temperature without cranking the heat, as moist air holds heat better than dry air.
Keep it simple – and free
Another completely free way to heat your condo? Sunshine! Open up your blinds during the day to let as much sunshine in as possible, but be sure to close them as soon as the sun starts to set. You can also find thermal curtains and drapes to help trap heat inside, remove all A/C units and cover them with insulated liners, and switch your fans to the clockwise position to push warm air back down.