If you haven’t already, it’s officially time to think about winterizing your home.
Whether you’ll be in town all season or you plan to be away for an extended period, it’s important to protect your home from the chill of winter. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for above-normal snowfall across Western North Carolina this season, so it’s also smart to prepare for the possibility of electrical outages brought on by heavy snow and ice.
Depending on the size and age of your house, as well as how many winters you’ve prepared it in the past, you may have a lot of winterizing to do. Don’t panic—the tasks aren’t overwhelming when you prepare for winter one step at a time.
Here’s a comprehensive list of everything you need to do to protect your home for winter:
Seal Leaks around Doors and Windows
- Add or replace worn weather stripping around doors and windows.
- Caulk gaps where necessary.
- Replace worn doorstops at the bottom of doors.
- If you have them, install storm doors and windows. Don’t forget to winterize basement windows.
- Replace old windows with energy efficient windows.
Seal Any Additional Leaks
- Use caulking and weather stripping around entry points for all pipes and ducts that travel through an exterior wall.
- Install insulating kits behind electrical plugs that are on a wall with an exterior side.
Is the Insulation Adequate?
Proper attic insulation keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Ask the staff at your local home improvement center how much insulation is recommended in your area, then check your attic insulation to make sure it’s adequate.
Some homes benefit from additional wall insulation. Home improvement center staff will explain types of insulation that can be added to existing walls.
Check Your Heating System
- Have a heating professional do a routine check before cold weather arrives.
- Vacuum vents and other heating components.
- If it has one, replace the furnace filter. Make future replacements as needed or directed by your furnace manufacturer.
- Consider installing a setback thermostat. It regulates the temperature, allowing the home to be cooler when you are away or asleep.
- Fill oil or propane tanks.
Check the Fireplace
- Have the chimney inspected and cleaned.
- Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
- Read more about wood-burning fireplace and gas log fireplace safety.
Check the Roof and Nearby Trees
- Replace loose shingles.
- Make sure the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes is watertight.
- Check the bricks and mortar.
- Install a screen at the top of the chimney to keep leaves and other items out.
- Clean drain gutters and point downspouts away from the house.
- Trim tree limbs that are hanging over or touching the roof.
Winterize the Plumbing
- Take care of known issues with pipes that freeze. Heat tape can be used to keep them warm during extremely cold weather.
- Learn how to turn off water at its source so that you can stop leaks immediately if they start.
- Drain water from outdoor faucets.
Winterize Outdoor Items
- Give decks an additional coat of sealer.
- Drain the gas from your lawnmower into an approved gas can. Store in a safe location.
- Check the foundation and siding for cracks or gaps. Repair as necessary.
- Drain garden hoses, roll them up, and store them inside.
- Close and cover the swimming pool.
- Prune shrubbery and add mulch to perennial flower beds.
- Cover outdoor furniture or store it inside.
Collect Emergency Supplies
In case of emergencies, collect the following items and keep them accessible:
- Candles and matches or a small butane lighter.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Propane tank or charcoal for outdoor grills.
- Battery-operated radio or weather radio. (Buy extra batteries.)
- Snow blower, shovels, and/or chemicals to melt snow.
- Containers of bottled water. Non-perishable food to last a few days. Be sure you have a hand-operated can opener.
- Paper plates and plastic eating utensils. Paper towels.
- Extra firewood. Fuel for your generator. Kerosene and kerosene heater (use with carbon monoxide monitoring strips).
In case of potential bad weather, make sure your devices are all charged, as well. There’s nothing more terrifying than an afternoon with a dead iPad and no access to Netflix!
Stay Safe this Winter
We joke, but cold weather can be dangerous if you are not prepared. Completing the above checklist can help keep you safe and warm this season.
There may be additional winterizing duties that are important for your area or neighborhood. If you’re new to town, ask your neighbors how they prepare for winter.
Image Copyright: svl861 / 123RF Stock Photo
— Beverly-Hanks WNC (@beverlyhanks) November 29, 2016