winterize your homeby Info Guru Terri Wallace

Before winter’s winds start to rattle your windows, and the damp drafts seep under your doors, take a weekend to winterize your home.

A few simple steps now will make for a much more comfortable, and energy efficient, winter season!

10. Reverse Ceiling Fans

Reverse Ceiling Fans

Reversing the direction that your ceiling fan circulates will cause the fan to push warm air away from the ceiling and cause it to recirculate. To check to see if your fan is ready for winter, look up at the fan to confirm that the blades are turning clockwise.

9. De-Gunk Gutters

De-Gunk Gutters

Falling leaves may be one of the first signs of autumn, but they are also a reminder that it is time to remove debris from your home’s gutters. Clogged gutters can form ice dams; water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house.

8. Protect your Pipes

Protect your Pipes

Before temperatures take a plunge, make certain to protect your pipes. If you live in colder climates, make sure that the water to your outdoor faucets is shut off and that the lines are drained. You can also install insulated faucet covers to help insulate exterior spigots. If your home has a pipes in a crawlspace, basement, or garage area, inspect the pipes and consider wrapping them with insulation or heat tape to avoid burst pipes (and a hefty plumbing bill).

7. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you don’t have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, autumn is the perfect time to install them. If you do have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, make sure to change the batteries when Daylight Savings ends.

6. Rework Inefficient Fireplaces

gas fireplace

Rehab your zone heating with a new gas fireplace to replace an inefficient vintage fireplace in your old home. You will enjoy great savings on heating your home because you will be able to turn down the thermostat. And, a cheery fireplace is certainly an invitation to sit down and enjoy some family time – what better way to spend those chilly winter evenings?

5. Wrap Your Water Heater

Wrap Your Water Heater

Wrapping your water heater prevents the loss of heat into the ambient air. The wraps are inexpensive and quick to install. This tip is especially important for homes where the water heater is in the garage, or otherwise exposed to colder temperatures. If your unit is going to struggle through the winter, this is the time to replace it with an efficient new one or tankless water heater.

4. Winter-Proof Windows

Winter-Proof Windows

Winter is the time to put the screens in storage and install the storm windows. If your windows are drafty and you don’t have storm windows, there are commercial films available to help insulate drafty windows and make your home more comfortable. In a pinch, a quilt can be placed over the curtain rod to help dampen drafts.

3. Look for Leaks

Look for Leaks

Walk around the interior and exterior of your home to look for cracks that might allow drafts to enter your home. Small cracks can often be filled with caulk or, in the case of brick homes with masonry sealer. Inspect around interior doors and windows by carefully holding a candle near the circumference of the door or window opening and looking for the tell-tale flicker of the candle flame.

2. Check the Furnace

Check the Furnace

Don’t wait until Old Man Winter sets in to have your furnace inspected. Make an appointment now to have your furnace cleaned and tuned. Furnaces should be inspected annually to ensure safe operation. Also plan to change the furnace filters regularly (check them monthly). A dirty filter restricts air flow, reduces efficiency, and is a fire hazard.

1. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Prepare an Emergency Kit

After you have done everything possible to help winterize your home, take a minute to prepare an emergency kit to help you through any weather related emergencies. Pack several flashlights (with new batteries), a first aid kit, telephone numbers to report power outages, extra blankets, candles and matches, and bottled water. Also make sure to keep an adequate supply of food and medication on hand. Winter is not the time to allow your pantry to get bare before making a trip to the store.