By Jessica Wing
It doesn’t matter where you live, your house needs to be prepared for the changing seasons. If you do not take steps to prepare, you could end up paying a small fortune in repairs and bills. The harsh weather can ruin a deck and make your heating bill sky rocket. The freezing temperatures can lead to frozen pipes. It’s important to make sure you get your house ready for winter, but even if the first snowflakes have already fallen and you still haven’t prepared, it’s never too late to winterize your home.
Installing weatherstripping is a relatively cheap and quick fix. You can buy weatherstripping at any hardware store. By putting weatherstripping under your doors and in loose windows, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency: keep the heat in and the cold out. If you feel a draft, you should identify the source and see if weatherstripping can fix it. If you find a draft and you do not have any weatherstripping, you can use a towel or blanket for the time being.
Plug Those Leaks!
You need to check your attic and basement for leaks. Basements are naturally cooler than the rest of the house, and if your basement has leaks, then you are sure to waste hundreds of dollars a year keeping it heated in the winter and cool in the summer. An added benefit of making sure your attic is airtight is keeping critters out. When the weather grows colder, squirrels and mice want to be where it's warmer, and they will chew through wires and wood to get there. You will cut down on your electric and repair bills by sealing your attic up.
Invest in Insulation
On top of making sure you seal the drafts in your attic, you should also invest in some insulation. You should have your attic, basement, and crawl space insulated. This is not a cheap of an option, but with the money you will save, you will more than make your money back. If you are a beginner, you might need to look into hiring a professional to help you with this.
Prevent Burst Pipes
You need to insulate any exposed pipes. Dealing with a busted pipe is an expensive inconvenience that no one wants to deal with. It can lead to mold, damaged goods, and huge amounts of repairs. Besides the monetary inconvenience, you will more than likely be out of water until the pipe gets fixed. In a pinch, you can insulate your pipes using old towels or blankets and tape. You can also buy pipe insulation from your local hardware store.
Use Thick Curtains
If you are skilled with a sewing machine or want to buy some, thick curtains will help keep the warmth in your house. Even just lowering the blinds will help. It seems like such a simple step compared to some of these others, but it can make a big difference!
Don’t Forget the Outside
While preparing for winter, it is important to remember the outside of your house as well. If you have a deck, the harsh weather can lead to wear and tear there too. You need to make sure to use the proper sealant on your deck and apply as needed. If you have pipes or nozzles exposed outside, you also need to weatherproof those. If you have trees close to your house, you should assess which branches are likely to fall during a snowstorm and cut them down. This will help protect your house from the elements.
Prevent Ice Buildup
You also need to stop ice from building up. Two ways to do this are cleaning your gutters and diverting water away from your house. If your gutters are dirty, water will back up onto your roof. This will eventually lead to leaks and mold. In the winter, this water can freeze and cause further damage. If water is building up around the base of your house, it will weaken the foundation, which can cost a small fortune to fix! You can take a shovel and dig trenches to guide the water away from your home, or buy rain spout extenders to lead the water elsewhere.
Regardless of where you live, you need to get your house winter-ready. It will save you time and heartache when Old Man Winter arrives!
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