7 Tips for Winterizing Your Home Before the Holidays

"Winter Landscape Lapland Sweden" by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee - Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Winter Landscape Lapland Sweden” by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee – Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fall is here and winter is just around the corner. As you prepare and plan for Thanksgiving and beyond, you can also prepare your house for the coming cold condition. If you live in a freezing or snowy climate, taking steps to winterize early can save you time, money, and frustration as winter settles in around you.

Winterizing: Disconnect The Hoses

In places like Denver or Minneapolis with hot summers and cold winters, it is easy to forget that your backyard hose is connected when freezing temperatures come for the first time of the year. Forgetting about hoses when in freezing conditions can be a costly mistake.

Frozen hoses are not horrible, but a frozen pipe can cause flooding and damage inside your home. Prevent that problem before it happens by simply unscrewing your hose from the nozzle.

Winterizing: Drain Your Sprinkler

If you have a lawn sprinkler system, those pipes are also susceptible to Mr. Freeze. Of course, I am not referring to the Batman character, I mean temperatures below 32 degrees.

Sprinkler pipes are typically shallow and are often made of plastic, making them a fast victim to freezing temperatures. Hire a sprinkler maintenance company to drain your system after the last watering of the year, or get dirty in the crawl space or garage and learn how to do it yourself before the cold hits.

Winterizing: Get Out the Blankets

While not technically a home project, a cozy night on the sofa with hot cocoa is the best way to enjoy a cool fall evening. Dig out your blankets from the back of the closet or your winter boxes a few weeks before they are needed so you have them on hand when you or the kiddos get a chill from cooling temperatures.

Winterizing: Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats learn your favorite temperature for each time of the day and even adjusts to conserve energy on your daily work schedule. Smart thermostats are controlled through an app in your phone, a handy touch screen, or your voice with a connected Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Popular options include the Nest Learning Thermostat from Google, ecobee3, and Sensi from Emerson.

Winterizing: Weatherproof Your Windows

Some upgrades are high tech, others are so simple anyone can do them. If you sit or stand near any window on a cool or hot day and feel a slight breeze emanating from the window while it is closed, it is time to do some fixing!

Add inexpensive weather stripping at the seams where you window meets the pane to insulate a small opening that may have developed over time. Also consider plastic Window Insulator kits that include special insulating plastic and tape that can cover old, leaky windows for extra protection from the elements.

Winterizing: Clean Your Ducts

The ducts where heated and cooled air are blasted into each room in your home if you have central, forced air heating and cooling can get dusty and inefficient. In this case, you are paying to heat air that isn’t even making into your cold bedroom, kitchen, living room, or home office.

Further, dust and debris can settle into ducting that connects your central furnace to the rest of the home, further costing efficiency. As an added downside, dusty ducting and piping causes dust and allergens to fly into your home each time your furnace fan kicks on.

You can dust and vacuum visible ducting yourself, or hire a professional to come in and suck out everything living in your piping and the rest of your system. Taking care of it before the winter will lead to energy bill savings and a more comfortable season at home.

Winterizing: Top Up Insulation

Attic insulation can break down, deteriorate, and compress over time. This leads to less efficiency and effectiveness in keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Insulation quality has improved over the last couple of decades as well, so older homes may get an even bigger benefit. You can purchase insulation yourself, or hire a professional to “spray” insulation into every nook and cranny in your attic while you hang out downstairs and enjoy a cup of coffee. Either way, your wallet and family will thank you.

Become a Snowbird

If you are retired or enjoy work location flexibility, consider packing up for the winter and heading somewhere warm and affordable like Florida, Arizona, or Texas. While you still need to winterize to prevent damage, you don’t have to worry about cold temperatures cramping your style.

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