Six Ways Anyone Can Winterize a Home

With winter approaching, you want the inside of your house to be comfortable throughout the year. There are a few things you can do to keep your home cozy and comfortable in the colder months. Take time this fall to prepare your rental home for winter.

1. Prepare the Gutters
The first step to preparing your gutters for winter is making sure they are clean. Even if you don’t want professional gutter cleaning, you can eliminate blockages in the gutters yourself. All the built up leaves and grime can stop them from draining properly. This can lead to leaks in your home, particularly if the water has nowhere else to go.

2.  Drain Exterior Faucets
Allowing water to remain in exterior faucets over the winter can cause many problems, including frozen and burst pipes. Sometimes, it’s unclear that a pipe has burst until the spring thaw, and dealing with a burst pipe is no way to start spring. To avoid that, make certain you detach all hoses from your exterior faucets and drain them before the first big freeze. Turn off the water flow to the pipes and be sure to allow all the water to drain out.

If you don’t have frost-proof faucets, which is likely to be the case, turn off the water to the faucet inside the house. While frost-proof faucets have water controls on the faucet itself, other exterior faucets do not. You want to ensure that you don’t replace the water as soon as it drains.

3. Furnace Maintenance
Some tasks are easy DIYs, and one of the simplest is changing the filters on your heating unit or air conditioner. Many units are designed for both heating and cooling. Changing the filters is particularly important on these types of units. If the filter isn’t changed before the heat kicks in, the particle build up from the summer will blow into your home.

If your unit is in use the entire year, then dust particles and other contaminants have had an entire year to build up in the filters. This can force your unit to work harder and may raise your heating bills. Changing filters between each season is a sure way to keep your unit functioning in prime condition.

Changing the filters and checking that there are no other obvious problems with the furnace or air conditioning unit is vital. This video from our Know Your Home series explains how to replace your air conditioning filter:

4.  Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction
If you have ceiling fans, you should take the time to reverse their direction. This sounds weird, but reversing the direction of the airflow will force the warm air that would otherwise move to the ceiling back down again. Reversing the fan’s airflow will not only improve air circulation, it may allow you to turn the heat down a few degrees.

5. Check for Roof Problems
Look up at your roof to check for any obvious problems like loose, damaged, or missing shingles. Binoculars are a great way to check for problems. Getting your roof fixed before the snow falls may help avoid leaks, shingles damage, and heat loss.

You should clear leaf and pine needle build-up, if any is present. These materials can work their way under the shingles and cause roof leaks. The worst part about these leaks is that they may not show up on a general inspection, only revealing themselves once the damage is done. Prevent the damage from happening by clearing the debris from the roof.

6. Perform Yardwork
As important as winterizing your home is, making sure the yard is ready for the season may be just as important. Large quantities of leaves can kill a lawn if left in place for too long. If your lawnmower didn’t come with a mulching mode, invest in a mulching attachment. Using a mulching mower can save you the effort of raking, and the chopped leaves can be left in place to decompose and enrich the soil.

The fall is one of the best times to put in new plants. The gentler weather gives new perennials a chance to adapt to the move without the strain that hot weather can put on plants. It allows these plants to adjust and grow in calmer weather and to get themselves established before winter comes.

These simple steps can save a world of hassle over the cold winter months. After all, it’s much easier to replace a filter today than it is to fix a heater in the cold of winter. To see how easy preparing your home for Jack Frost can be, take a look at this video which steps you through the process:

Enjoy the fall, but be prepared for winter.


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