Follow these winter house maintenance tips to prepare your home for the cold weather months
This is the ultimate checklist to prepare for winter's freezing temperatures. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t typically experience extreme cold, it can still benefit your home, and wallet, to integrate energy saving practices. Follow these steps to keep your home cozy, warm, and energy-efficient through the cold season.
- Insulate pipes and fixtures. Insulating both hot and cold-water pipes and fixtures can help regulate temperature. If you insulate hot water pipes, it helps hold the heat in, while insulating cold water pipes will help you avoid frozen or burst pipes during extreme cold spells.
- Seal up doors and windows. Adding weather stripping, window film, fresh caulk, or even thermal curtains can help keep the cold air outside and the hot air inside. Sealing the house from winter drafts helps reduce the energy necessary to keep your home cozy and warm. Not only do leaks and drafts cause your furnace to work harder, but they also cause wear and tear to your unit and increase your energy bill.
- Inspect internal furnace components. Your furnace should be inspected annually. Whether you enjoy doing your own projects or you prefer to hire a professional, making sure the internal components are in good condition will keep your system working safely and efficiently. While your furnace is being inspected, you can also consider having your air ducts cleaned - since your air will be rotating through your home more through winter than other months, it’s important that air ducts aren’t filled with mold or other contaminants.
Change your furnace filter. One of the simplest winter house maintenance tips is to replace your furnace filter regularly. This helps keep your indoor air clean and your heating system running properly. A constantly dirty filter can reduce the life of your HVAC system by up to half! Why risk that when it’s so simple to change an air filter? You can even bulk order your air filters so you have a year’s supply at a time. Learn how to measure air filter size and what the right MERV rating is for your air quality needs.
*MERV 13 air filters can even capture airborne viruses and bacteria, making them a great option during flu season and throughout winter when more people stay indoors.
- Move furniture away from vents. Flowing hot air will have a hard time heating a room if it's cut off by furniture. Make sure your couch, dresser, or bed isn't blocking the room's source of warmth. If it’s unavoidable that a piece of furniture will rest over an air vent, look into ways to lift the furniture so your air vent has some clearance to disperse air into your home properly.
- Test your thermostat. Make sure your thermostat is working properly and set to the best temperature for winter. There are many ways to cut costs on energy bills by programming your thermostat to heat your home to the right temperature at the right time. By inspecting your unit and thermostat before those cold winter months really set in, you’ll be better prepared to address problems without risking freezing temperatures in your home.
- Switch air appliance use. Most people use a fan throughout the summer months but moving air can actually make it feel 4 degrees colder. If you’re less tolerant of cooler temperatures, leaving the fan off and adding a humidifier can help increase your perception of warmth. Humidifiers add moisture into dry winter air to help you feel more comfortable all winter long.
- Stock up on de-icing salt. Make sure your family and friends are safe on your property by keeping de-icing salt on hand. Nobody wants bruises – or worse, broken bones – from a fall on stairs or a sidewalk. Spreading de-icing salt as needed is an easy way to prevent winter-related accidents. You can also spread salt on your driveway to prevent your car from slipping, especially if you park on an incline.
- Inspect your chimney. The coziness of a fire adds to holiday ambiance and helps heat your home at the same time. Having a chimney or flue inspected and cleaned by a professional can prevent fires and decrease your chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. If your chimney is purely decorative, consider investing in a barrier to prevent heat from escaping through the chimney or from cold air coming in.
Our most valuable cold weather home checklist tip is to be prepared. Make sure your home maintenance is up to date and consider having an emergency kit on hand in case conditions get bad and you end up snowed in at home. There’s nothing worse than feeling unprepared and uncomfortable in your home. If you live in areas that often experience extreme weather, consider investing in a portable generator to help keep your home warm and to allow you to cook meals. Following this winter home maintenance checklist can help you cover the bases so you can enjoy the holidays knowing that you have everything prepared or on hand in case of a bad situation.
Do you want to learn more ways to save energy and keep your home healthy? Check out our Helpful Tips page for great ideas!