How to Keep Your Home Prepared for Winter

This winter, we’re bringing you the top tips to keeping your home prepared for cold weather and running efficiently.

Furnace & Heating

  • Make sure your furnace is in good working order. Check that the furnace filter is clean and replace it if it’s not. Make sure that the thermostat and pilot light are working properly and that the pipe bringing fuel to your furnace isn’t leaking or loose.

  • Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puff backs.

  • Have your heating ducts cleaned. The ducts should be vacuumed every five years.

  • Keep the house warm. The temperature in the home should be at least 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the pipes from freezing.

  • Check the caulking around doors and windows to make sure there’s no cracking or peeling. Re-caulking, if needed, prevents cold air from entering your home. Why pay a higher heating bill if you don’t have to?

Pipes & Water

  • Frozen water pipes can crack and spew gallons of water all over your home. You can prevent this by draining your outdoor hose bibs and by keeping your heat on even when you’re away from home.

  • Get to know your plumbing. Learn how to shut off the water, and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes do freeze, time is of the essence. The more quickly you can shut off the water, or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have of preventing the pipes from bursting.

  •  Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home.

  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.

  • Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to “off”.

  • If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.

Outdoor Maintenance

  • Check the caulking around doors and windows to make sure there’s no cracking or peeling. Recaulking, if needed, prevents cold air from entering your home. Why pay a higher heating bill if you don’t have to?

  • Keep snow and ice from building up around the bottom of the garage door so that it closes completely and doesn’t warp.

  • Make sure steps and handrails are in good shape. Broken stairs and banisters can become even more dangerous when covered with snow and ice. Make repairs now to prevent someone from falling and being seriously injured.

  • Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind could cause weak tree trunks or branches to break, damaging your home or car, or injuring someone walking on your property.

Vacation

  • Take special care if you plan to be away from home. If you are not going to be in your home this winter for an extended period of time, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or busting. Also, hire someone to check on your home on a regular basis. That way, a problem can be fixed quickly, lessening any damage. Activity at your home also reduces the likelihood that it will be burglarized.

It’s easy to keep your home in tip top shape this winter by just following a few simple steps. Which of these will you use to help your home withstand the winter?