8 Ways to Winterize Your Home


Each year Americans spend countless hours preparing for the holidays; spending just a few to make sure your home is ready for winter can help ensure your holidays are happy.

A winter wonderland can bring dreams of sledding, skating, and sipping hot chocolate at the ski lodge. It can also bring nightmares of burst pipes, falling tree limbs and house fires. There are ways to keep these nightmares at bay, however, with some simple steps to prepare your home for winter’s worst.

Here are eight things you can do to winterize your home.

Clear your gutters.

During the fall, gutters tend to fill with leaves, twigs and other debris. In the winter, all of this can clog your gutters and prevent snow and ice from flowing through—which can lead to ice dams. An ice dam can force water to leak inside your home, causing damage to the ceiling the walls. Take a weekend to clear out your gutters—it can save you time and money down the road.

Inspect your furnace.

Clear away any flammable items stored near your heater and change or clean your furnace’s filter regularly, following the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also have your furnace serviced prior to using it.

Clean your chimney.

Creosote builds up on the interior of your chimney walls and can pose a fire hazard. If you use your chimney often, it’s a good idea to have it professionally swept each year.

Add insulation.


Adding insulation to your attic, basement or crawlspace helps increase your home’s energy efficiency—and can help reduce your monthly electric bills. The extra insulation in your attic can also help keep your roof from collapsing. (If too much heat escapes through your attic, the snow on your roof can start to melt and then re-freeze, resulting in ever-growing layers of snow and ice until your roof collapses under the weight.)

Protect your pipes.

You should also insulate any water pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures. Wrap pipes with heating tape; check for cracks in the pipe while you’re at it—if you notice any, have them fixed before they become a major issue. You should also learn where the shut-off valve for your water is located. The faster you can turn off the water if you notice a frozen pipe, the better.

Trim the trees.

The Christmas tree inside your home isn’t the only one you should be trimming this time of year. Ice, snow and wind can cause tree branches around your home to break and fall, potentially damaging your home or car—or injuring someone on your property. Remove any dead branches and trim large branches that hang over your home, your driveway or any power lines on your property.

Inspect your home’s exterior.



Look for any missing or cracked shingles, missing or damaged flashing, or bald spots on shingles on your roof. Check your siding for cracks, damage or separation. Inspect the weather stripping on your windows and doors to make sure they are sealed. Repair or replace anything that might allow water or air leaks.

Keep your home warm.

Keeping your home warm (at least 65 degrees) can also help prevent your pipes from freezing. And be sure to leave the heat on if you plan on being away for an extended period of time. Coming home to burst pipes is not how you want to end your vacation. Worried about your heating bill? Check out these affordable solar power options to help heat and light your home.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, Doityourself.com, HomeTips.com, frugaldad.com
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