Winterize your home sooner rather than later to avoid doing outdoor work in cold weather. While it seems like a lot of work to prepare your house for winter, taking the right measures ahead of time can save you a lot of stress and money later on.
Insulate your pipes
Even if you don’t live in an area prone to freezing temperatures, the occasional cold front can threaten your pipe systems. Exposed pipes — like those in your attic or garage — are especially at risk and may require special insulation. You can purchase “pipe sleeves” or even use newspaper for a short term fix to help prevent pipes from freezing or bursting. Other less-eco-friendly solutions include allowing water to drip during cold snaps or heating uninsulated areas.
Weatherproof doors and windows
Cracks around windows and doors can allow warm air to escape and cooler air to enter your home. Luckily, there are a few ways to reduce the amount of cool air that enters via your windows. You can either purchase energy-efficient window coverings or drapes to reduce the draft or install insulating films to your window frames. Also try sealing windows and doors with caulking or weather-proof strips to prevent leaks. Larger investments include installing double-pane windows to increase energy efficiency.
Inspect your roof and gutters
Schedule a roof inspection ahead of time or safely check it out yourself to look for any problem areas. Missing shingles or clogged gutters may leave you vulnerable to damage during winter weather months from leaks or the weight of snow.
Switch to LED lights
If you plan on stringing up holiday lights outdoors, look into using energy-efficient LED lights to help reduce your energy bill. LED lights are longer-lasting, safer and more durable than regular incandescent glass bulbs, meaning they should withstand the elements better. Consider using these lights indoors on your holiday tree or as recess lighting in your home.
Disconnect hoses and sprinkler systems
Winterize your sprinkler system by shutting off the water supply before freezing temperatures arrive. Drain the pipes to help prevent them from freezing during cold snaps. Disconnect any outside hoses from the spout and shut off water to those sources. If you have a pool or outdoor water feature, take steps to drain and protect them as well.
Protect your plants
If temperatures drop below 45 degrees, bring small plants indoors. For larger plants and trees, take extra steps to protect them during cooler weather. Wrap tree trunks with protective paper wrapping to prevent freezing and add mulch around plants to help regulate the temperature. For light freezes, cover outdoor plants with blankets overnight to protect them. Just be sure to remove blankets first thing in the morning to prevent condensation build-up.
Move outdoor equipment inside
Protect your outdoor furniture and appliances by moving them into your garage or basement, if possible. Clean and disconnect your gas grills before moving them inside so that they are stored safely. This should also help prevent wildlife from nesting inside your appliances. If storing furniture and grills inside isn’t an option, purchase covers to protect them outdoors.
Winterize the inside of your home