How to Winterize Your Home

By Lyle Weischwill | Nov. 10, 2016 4:05 pm PST

From gutters to windows to furnaces, these winterization steps will help you ready your house for its long winter’s nap.

When the leaves are turning and there’s a chill in the air, there’s no denying that winter is on its way. You might prepare for the coming weather by digging your parka out of the back of the closet and putting away your summer clothes. But is your house ready to face Old Man Winter?

Here’s what you need to know if you’re wondering how to winterize your house for the coming season.

1. Clean your gutters — but be careful!

“It’s my favorite job!” said nobody, ever. But cleaning leaves, twigs, dirt and other debris out of your gutters before the first snowfall will help prevent ice dams that could clog your gutters and damage your roof. While the days are still nice, pick a sunny afternoon and get to work. Or hire someone to handle the task if you’re not comfortable on a ladder.

2. Inspect your furnace.

Make an appointment for a service technician to give your furnace a careful look-over to make sure it’s in good working order. An inefficiently running furnace can hike up your energy bills — or, worse, fail when you need it the most. Smart homeowners will maintain their furnace, getting it checked sooner rather than later.

3. Insulate your pipes.

It’s much easier than it sounds. Pick up foam insulation tubes designed for the task (you’ll need to know the diameter of the pipes), cut the tubes to length and pop them into place. Insulate pipes that near outside walls to help prevent them from freezing on frigid nights. It’s one of the cheapest ways you can winterize your home.

4. Seal your doors and windows.

If you can see daylight around the edges of any of your doors and windows, it’s time to get out your trusty caulking gun. Make sure the heat you’re paying for isn’t escaping through those gaps. If you’ve got storm windows, now’s the time to put them into place.

5. Reverse your ceiling fans.

Everyone knows heat rises, but here’s a little-known winter energy tip: If you switch your ceiling fan to run clockwise (many newer fans have a switch) it will push the toasty air back down into the room. You may even be able to shave a few degrees off your thermostat setting (and a few dollars off your monthly bill) because of it.

6. Get your chimney swept.

There’s nothing better than sitting in front of a cozy fire on a cold winter night. But with wood-burning fireplaces, creosote can build up in the chimney over time and even catch on fire, with potentially deadly consequences. Prevent this by having your chimney cleaned every year.

Follow these winterizing tips, and you’ll be prepared for any type of weather that comes your way this winter.

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