Seven Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter
Today the snow is finally falling – a sure sign that winter is just around the corner. Are you ready for the radical changes forecasted by dropping temperatures, shorter days, falling leaves, and wool sweaters?
It all seems so benign, really, until the first snowfall, after which a small panic sets in and we wonder if we’re properly prepared. To help sort out what to do with your home in the next few weeks (in case you haven’t already), I’m sharing this checklist borrowed from Bryan Baeumler of HGTV’s Island of Bryan. With some advanced planning, hopefully being ‘hunkered down for the winter’ will feel a little more pleasant and free of stress.
- Arrange things in your home for warmth
Move furniture away from heat vents so that air can circulate more freely. Open and close drapes, alternating between capturing the heat from the sun and blocking out the cold when the sun isn’t shining. Also, keep floors warm by adding throw rugs, hallway runners or seasonal carpets underfoot.
- Seal up air leaks
Use calking and weather stripping to seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Use plastic wrap on older or inferior windows to help retain heat, and make sure to top up insulation where needed, especially in the basement or attic.
- Inspect and clean the furnace and fireplace
Drop a new filter into the furnace (usually every three months), and make sure to check the fireplace for nests in the chimney or spider webs in the lines, and clear them. Clogs can cause fires!
- Use electricity efficiently
Program your thermostat to regulate room temperatures around your daily schedule. Change the direction of ceiling fans to pull warm air downward into the room. In addition, consider using a portable electric heater with a thermostat to warm up rooms when you need to be in them without having to heat up the entire house.
- Check outdoor water lines
Empty outdoor water pipes, including those connected to water taps and A/C, so that they won’t burst when the temperature dips below freezing.
- Check the eaves
Make sure your gutters are free of leaves and autumn’s debris so that melting snow and ice can drain freely.
- Prepare for keeping driveways and sidewalks clear of snow
Pull out the snow shovels and give your snow blower a tune-up so that everything is ready to go when the first big snowfall settles. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a bag of salt for the front steps!
Have a safe and cozy home this winter!