Member Insights by John Buys Houses
Winter is coming! Okay, it’s Ohio, so winter is almost always coming. But when the weather cools and the snow starts to fall, you need to be ready. Here are ten practical ways you can prepare your home for winter.
If you want to keep the heat in this winter, then you need to inspect the air seals around your doors. Check the weather stripping and seal around the door frame. If you find spaces or cracks, replace these seals. Gaps beneath the door can be temporarily blocked with door draft guards. Don’t forget to check the weather stripping on your garage door too. Cold air seeping into the garage can easily make your home colder.
Your windows are often the most significant source of heat loss in your home. If you want to stay toasty, you need to make sure they are sealed and protected. Look for cracks or gaps along the window frame where it meets the wall and re-caulk any damaged areas. Protective window coverings will also reduce heat loss through the windowpanes. Thermal curtains and blinds are a popular and functional option, or you can use inexpensive plastic window wraps and films.
When water freezes it can wreak havoc on your outdoor plumbing. Sprinkler systems and yard water features should be drained and winterized. Disconnect hoses from outside spigots and put them away where they won’t be exposed to cold. Spigots should be covered with a cap or pipe wrap to avoid freezing.
Many houses have pipes that are exposed to the elements. Whether in your crawlspace, basement, or attic, pipes should be wrapped with pipe insulation. Both foam and tape solutions work well to keep pipes and water warmer as it flows into and through your home. The warmer you can keep these pipes, the less strain you’ll be putting on your water heater.
If you want to use the heat in your house efficiently, you need to remember to switch the direction of your fans. A fan going at low speed in a clockwise direction will take hot air near the ceiling and push it downward to fill the house and make you warm. Use the easy-to-find switch on the fan body to complete this task.
Your furnace runs hard and long in wintertime. Changing your air filters is a must to keep your heater working. Some models will shut off if they detect the filter is too dirty and a clogged filter makes your heating inefficient and puts additional strain on other parts of your furnace. It’s never a bad idea to have a full tune-up from a service professional to start your winter off right.
Winter brings a lot of holidays and that means a lot of wet shoes tracking snow and dirt through your house. Prepare for this by placing water-absorbing or all-weather mats at every entrance. You may consider using two, one for walking in and the other to set wet shoes on. Hardwood and tiles floors can also become very cold in winter, prompting you to turn up the heat in response. Using rugs and runners can help add a feeling of warmth to your home during the winter.
Even the garage needs winterized. Put summer accessories and lawn care items near the back of the garage and bring out your winter gear. Snow blowers, shovels, and bags of salt should all be brought to within easy access. It’s also a good idea to stock up on these items well before you need them.
Your driveway is the true entry way to your home and needs to be protected during winter. Water trapped in cracks and potholes will freeze and expand, increasing any existing issues. Fixing these problems before the first freeze can help ensure a smooth surface come spring. It’s also a good idea to mark the edges of your driveway with reflective markers or flags. That way, when the snow is covering the ground, you’ll be sure you’re driving on the driveway and not through your yard.
Often seen as an extension of the home, it’s important that you have the right winter supplies in your car. An ice scraper is a must. But it’s also a good idea to carry an emergency kit in the event you get stranded somewhere. Keep blankets, extra gloves and hats, food, and water in the car in case of emergencies.