How to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

Autumn is invariably a prelude to falling winter temperatures, regardless of where you live. So, everyone needs to get his home winterized before any cold weather hits. Rather than wait until it has to be done, start early to winterize. Let’s see some tips to help you prepare your home for winter:

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1. Check Your Home Furnace
a) Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts. You will probably get deal for your service now, before it is an emergency call.
b) With a routine furnace check involves examine of the flue and the chimney, also checking your electrical connections, and the gas pressure, the filters, and your blower speed, even safety controls, the heat exchanger, also calibrating the thermostat, and vacuuming out the furnace area, and also lubricating any moving parts.
c) Your technician can also warn you of any potential problems, or advise if it is time to be considering a replacement or upgrade.
d) A good idea is to replace your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
e) If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.

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 2.  Check Your Air Duct
Have your air ducts cleaned. You will be amazed at all the construction debris that has been down in there all these years. Duct cleaning is especially crucial if anyone in your family is afflicted with asthma or allergies.
Seal the joints on your ductwork. Mastic or a good duct tape works wonders here.

3. Check Your Insulation
Check in the attic to see if it is properly insulated. Add a second layer of insulation to your attic. R-30 insulation is considered the minimum. It will help keeps that home of yours warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, if your house is relatively new, it probably conforms. If not, consider adding insulation.

4. Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows
a) Preparing your home for winter includes caulking around window and door glass and trim, and all exterior trim.
b) Check for cracks around pipes and electrical outlets entering or exiting the walls. Caulking is very cheap in comparison to the money lost to heat escaping to the outside.
c) Install storm windows and doors if you have them. Consider purchasing storm windows if you have older windows that are not made from modern insulated glass.

5.  Check Roof, Gutters & Downspouts
a) Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
b) Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
c) Check gutters and clean them if necessary. Clogged gutters can result in basement flooding when the snow melts. Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters.
d) Consider installing extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

6.  Check the Pipes
a) Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
b) Drain all garden hoses.
c) Wrap pipes in unheated locations, such as crawl spaces beneath your house or in your garage, with foam insulation, pipe wrap or heat tape. When preparing your house for winter, you need to protect water pipes and prevent them from freezing and bursting.

7. Check Your Water Heater
Insulate your water heater. Insulation blankets for water heaters are readily available at your local hardware store. Be careful to NOT cover any supply air openings or service accesses.

8. Check Foundations
a) Check the foundation for areas where water may puddle.
b) Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
c) Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
d) Tuck-point or seal foundation cracks. Secure also crawlspace entrances.

9. Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces
a) Trim trees away from the house. Have dead trees and branches removed by professional tree trimmers, or do it yourself.
b) Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
c) Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
d) Make sure you are stocked with rock salt, sand, snow shovels and any other items you will need during the winter.

10. Check the Chimney
Check the chimney to be sure it is covered to prevent animals and birds from entering.