Winterizing your home

Is your home ready for the upcoming winter months? Protecting your home against snow and below-freezing temperatures can help withstand the unpredictability of the winter weather. Make sure your home is ready for the season with these important tips – for inside and outside.

Prepping the inside of your home

Consider these tips to winterize the inside of your home:

  • Have your furnace or boiler inspected. Since your heating system will be running constantly throughout the winter, you should have it inspected annually to make sure it’s running efficiently. This will also prevent carbon monoxide entering the home. Make sure you also change your HVAC filters each month.
  • Inspect the insulation in your attic or crawlspaces. Remember that warm air rises, leaving through the roof. Focus on the insulation in the ceilings and crawlspaces. Keeping your home insulated will help keep your rooms and floors warm.
  • Seal potential leaks. Take the time to seal around recessed lights, the attic hatch, plumbing vents or any other areas that may be allowing warm air to escape.
  • Allow for ventilation. To prevent ice dams, make sure your attic has proper ventilation, adequate insulation and a tight air barrier between the attic and the home’s interior.
  • Use window sheet kits. If you don’t have double-paned or storm windows, consider purchasing a plastic-film sheet kit from your local home improvement store. Though they only last one season, they do help with energy efficiency and deter winter drafts. You could also try making your windows energy efficient by hanging curtains, caulking the window gaps, installing storm windows or replacing them.
  • Use weather stripping. Block winter drafts by adding weather stripping to doors and caulking window gaps. To keep the cold air out as much as possible, try keeping the windows locked. You can also install door sweeps to halt any drafts.
  • Use a fireplace. If your home has a fireplace, schedule an annual inspection to clean the chimney and inspect the damper.
  • Insulate pipes. By insulating pipes located near outer walls, you prevent them from freezing. They are susceptible to extreme temperatures during the winter months. When the forecast predicts unusually cold temperatures, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight. You can also keep your cabinet doors open below sinks to allow warm air to circulate. Make sure to remove any items that may be a safety risk to children, such as household cleaners.
  • Consider smart home technology. Smart home technology, such as smart thermostats, can help trim energy costs and assist with winter management of your home. Most sources agree you should keep your thermostat at 68 degrees when home but lower it a few degrees when you’re away or sleeping. Programmable thermostats let you customize your heating so the system doesn’t run when you don’t need it.

Prepping the outside of your home

You will still need to make sure your yard and home’s exterior are maintained prior to the start of winter.

  • Protect your plants. Before the first cold snap, bring your plants and flowering trees inside. Most experts say bring your plants inside before temperatures dip below 45 degrees.
  • Tool checkup. Inspect your snow shovel for any cracks. If you have a snow blower, schedule an annual tune-up.
  • Winterize outdoor faucets. Remove hoses and devices from the outdoor spigots. You also need to make sure you drain any water left in the pipes. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, shut off the water, turn off the timer, drain and insulate above-ground components.
  • Outdoor furniture. Clean upholstery and frames. You should then store the furniture and cushions in a moisture-free spot. This includes your grill. If you have a grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank. It must be stored outside. If you don’t have room to store it, purchase covers to protect them from the elements.
  • Install storm windows and doors. These add a layer of protection to your home and increase their energy efficiency.
  • Clear any landscape debris and waste. You should remove any debris from around the HVAC unit (if you have one), gas meter, basement windows and your dryer exhaust vent. Make sure to cut back dead or dying limbs or branches that touch the roof or siding. Windy days can cause branches to rub or scratch the surfaces of your home, causing damage. A storm or heavy snow/ice could cause branches to fall or break.
  • Firewood. If you use firewood in your home, store it in a dry place at least 30 feet from your home to avoid fire hazards.
  • Visually inspect the roof and attic. Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. Contact a professional if you have any repairs. To prevent ice dams, clean your gutters (if your home has them) and make sure they are properly attached. Check the attic and ceilings for any leaks. Since New York state is prone to snow, invest in a snow roof rake to keep it clean. Heavy snow can damage your roof.
  • Swimming pools and hot tubs. Be sure to close up and secure your pool or hot tub. Follow any manufacturer’s instructions to properly winterize your pool or hot tub.
  • Outdoor lights: Inspect lights at all doors including front, back and garage, and replace any burned-out bulbs.
  • Prevent pests: Inspect your home’s foundation for small cracks or openings, and seal the possible entrances. Mice and other pests can tunnel in looking for warmth.
  • Sidewalk and driveway. Keep your sidewalk and driveway clear of snow. If needed, follow up with a de-icing product. Depending on the type you use, you can damage surfaces outside your home including your lawn, driveway and sidewalks. Research the best de-icer for your home. One de-icer for homeowners is calcium chloride. Not only does it work at lower temperatures, but it also does not harm plants. Sodium chloride is the cheapest; however, at a certain temperature, it will not melt ice. It is also more toxic. If you have pets, consider a de-icer that does not contain salt, such as Safe Paw.

The information is this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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