Guide to Winterizing Your Home

By: Camille Berry How to, Winter

Don’t be caught unaware, scrambling to keep the cold out after the temperatures drop. Even if you live in your home full-time, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from burst pipes, cold drafts, and high heating bills. Here’s what you can do to winterize your home and prepare for the oncoming cold.

1. Clean your gutters

Never enter a cold season with clogged gutters. Debris from the changing seasons can create blockages that cause water to build up and freeze. The next thing you know, your gutters are pulling away from the house or creating damp spots in the walls and ceilings due to leaks or accumulating wet leaves and other remnants.

2. Wrap pipes

Winterize your plumbing as well. Cover pipes with insulation sleeves, which can be purchased online at a hardware store for just a few dollars, to help prevent them from freezing. Heat tape or heating cable will also do the trick. Be sure to seal any cracks in pipes to avoid swelling and breaking. Lastly, consider flushing your water heater, which will help it run more efficiently.

Learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Prevent freezing Wrap pipes with insulation sleeves

3. Sweep your chimney

If you have a fireplace, making sure your chimney is clean and free of debris and buildup is an absolute must for winter. Call a chimney sweep or rent special vacuums used for cleaning chimneys. You can also burn chemical cleaners, which work to breakdown soot residue. Not only does this help the chimney work more effectively, it’s also an important safety consideration—a clean chimney is less likely to lead to fires.

4. Check for drafts and condensation

Check your windows and doors to make sure there aren’t any drafts winnowing their way into your home. There’s no use in preparing your home for winter only to be bothered by a persistent draft. The easiest way to check for drafts is to use your hands. Place your hand in front of your window frames and see if you can feel any sneaky breezes making their way into your home. Seal window cracks with caulk or pick up a draft stopper to place by the door.

Windows that are 15 years old or older or those with persistent condensation or leaks should be replaced. Double-pane windows are a great way to help make a warmer and more energy efficient home.

If you’re renting, purchase a thermal window film instead.

5. Replace roof tiles

Tiles can take a battering over the course of the year, and damaged roofing tiles can compromise the safety and warmth of your home in winter. So call a professional to investigate the condition of your roof. Have broken or missing tiles replaced and repair any cracks that might allow water to creep in and cause damage.

6. Insulate, insulate, insulate

Proper insulation goes a long way toward preventing expensive heating bills. Head up to your attic and check to see if your insulation is up to standard. Short of getting a professional in, if your home is prone to strange fluctuations in temperature, abnormally high gas and electric bills, or ice build up on the roof, you might have an insulation problem.

Add or replace insulation as needed and don’t forget to check walls as well—poorly insulated walls are the culprit behind most heat loss. You can accomplish the same in the rooms of your home by adding thickly shagged area rugs.

7. Invest in a thermostat

If you don’t already have one, install a smart home thermostat or a traditional thermostat that can be programmed to a timer. You’ll keep your house warm without having to blast the heat around the clock. If you’re worried about cost, turn your thermostat down by a degree or two and wrap up in a thick sweater and make sure you have a good quality duvet for your bed.

8. Close off unused rooms

By closing off rooms you don’t use (or use less frequently)—like offices, spare bedrooms, or bathrooms—you’ll keep the warm air collected in the most highly trafficked areas of your home.

9. Bleed your radiator

Bleeding a radiator is actually quite easy. Doing so will help your radiator run beautifully during the cold months.

Simply turn off the heat and open the valve with a radiator key. You’ll hear a hissing noise—that’s the air escaping. Hold a towel below the valve to catch any dripping water and wait for water to flow from the bleed valve. Close it back up and your radiator is ready to go.

More in Maintenance

Maintenance & Renovation

Flood Damage Restoration: What to Do After Your Home Floods

Let’s look at what you should do if your home is flooded to restore your property and steps you can take to prevent flood damage in the future.

Read More
Family home severely damaged by fire.
Maintenance & Renovation

What to Expect from Fire Damage Restoration

Even a small fire can create a lot of damage to your home due to the heat, smoke, soot, and water that result from the fire and trying to put it out.

Read More
Peeling paint on an interior ceiling a result of water damage caused by a leaking pipe dripping down from upstairs a result of substandard plumbing completed by an unqualified plumber. A common house insurance claim.
Maintenance & Renovation

How to Handle Water Damage Restoration

No matter how prepared you think you are, water damage can still happen. And it’s never easy to deal with.

Read More
Maintenance & Renovation

How to Choose a Contractor for Your Home Improvement Project

Where to start your search, what to look for, questions to ask, and red flags to avoid.

Read More
Inspiration

Kitchen Design Trends 2019

House Method talked to six design experts to predict the kitchen trends we’ll see in the new year.

Read More
Maintenance & Renovation

Best Home Tech for 2019

From robot vacuums to smart home hubs, energy-monitoring tools and more, here are the smart home devices that are worth your money in 2019.

Read More
Maintenance & Renovation

A New Way to Wi-Fi: Plume Solves the Problem of Where to Hide That Heinous Router

Adaptive Wi-Fi pioneer Plume has launched a subscription model for its services, but perhaps the best part about Plume is that it offers a solution to the problem of where to hide that heinous router.

Read More
Health

Good Bidet to You: Meet The Bathroom Accessory You Didn’t Know You Needed

That totally clean feeling is pretty nice—now it’s more accessible than ever.

Read More
Maintenance & Renovation

Is Winter Actually the Best Time for a Home Renovation?

Summer may be the most popular time to take on a home renovation, but there are key advantages to cost and availability afforded only in winter.

Read More

What Did You Think?

Join the Conversation

By continuing to browse or by clicking “OK” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Privacy Policy.

OK