by Brandon M. Scott
As the autumn leaves begin to fall and the crisp, cool air sets in, it’s a clear signal that winter is just around the corner. To ensure your home remains cozy and energy-efficient during the colder months, October is the perfect time to start preparing. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through 10 essential steps for homeowners to winterize their homes effectively.
1. Inspect and Seal Windows and Doors
The first line of defense against chilly drafts is your windows and doors. Inspect for cracks or gaps, and seal them with weatherstripping or caulk to prevent heat from escaping and cold air from creeping in. When caulking be sure to pay attention to the type – exterior, windows and doors. Invest in the mid-range brand for a longer seal and less cracking.
2. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Clogged gutters can lead to water damage when ice melts and refreezes. Make sure your gutters are clear of debris and properly directing water away from your home’s foundation and structure.
3. Service Your Heating System
Very critical. You’ve been blasting your AC all Summer long, day and night. Invest in the health of your home and your HVAC by having your heating system serviced by a professional to ensure it is in optimal condition. When should you switch to heat: when the temperature is under 60 degrees. This provides two advantages: keeping you warm and saving on your energy bill.
4. Check Insulation
Inspect your attic and walls for sufficient insulation. Poke your head into the attic and, for walls, try and remember cold spots and address them. Adding or replacing insulation can help maintain a comfortable temperature and reduce heating costs.
5. Reverse Ceiling Fans
Did you know about this one? Reversing the direction of your ceiling fans to clockwise circulates warm air downward, making your space feel cozier. For traditional ceiling fans, on the body of the fan there is a switch. Changing the switch position will change the direction of your ceiling fan.
6. Protect Your Pipes
Prevents freezing and bursting during freezing temperatures. The right time to turn the water off outside is when the temperature is recurringly under 50 degrees. You can avoid costly pipe bursts by insulating exposed pipes and disconnecting garden hoses. Also, turn off the water to your hose bibs. Then, turn the hose bibs on to release any water in the pipes, which could freeze and burst your pipe.
7. Check your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s in good working order, which includes having it professionally serviced. Self-cleaning is good maintenance, professional cleaning should cover an evaluation for cracks in the flute or structures that could leak carbon dioxide into the home.
8. Schedule a Roof Inspection
To avoid costly leaks and repairs, have a professional inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles and address any issues promptly. Your roof is one of the most expensive replacements so be sure to invest in routine maintenance and a home roof warranty, if available for your home.
9. Prepare for Power Outages
As winter storms can lead to power outages, ensure you have a backup plan. Stock up on essentials like flashlights, rechargeable batteries, external battery pack(s), and non-perishable food. Also, keep a couple gallons of bottled water on hand along with blankets.
10. Landscaping and Lawn Care
In the Spring we open the year, in Fall we close it. It’s time to trim overhanging branches and remove dead foliage from your garden. Properly winterize your lawnmower and garden tools. Remember to protect your investments with healthy home care habits.
Winterizing your home in October is a wise investment in your comfort and your wallet. Taking these steps will help you maintain a cozy, energy-efficient home throughout the cold season. Don’t wait until winter’s icy grip takes hold—start now to ensure your home is ready for the chill.
Brandon Scott is a licensed real estate agent in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. His license hangs with Keller Williams Capital Properties in DC. He’s been involved in the mortgage finance industry for the last 22 years in various fields. You can reach him by email at [email protected]. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel at RealTeaDMV