Although there are still a few days of summer left, it's not too early to start prepping your home for the winter. Unpacking holiday decorations from the garage and basement is a key task, but you'll also need to consider more functional duties.
Similar to how you start wearing longer sleeves, flannel and corduroys, your house needs an update if it is to stay warm and in good shape when the temperatures drop. Proper winterization is not only good for your comfort, but it can also be helpful if you're having a pre-listing inspection before you sell the property. Poor insulation will be noted in the report, so you need to ensure your house won't lose heat when the snow and ice start coming down.
Here are six tips for winterizing your home:
1. Change the direction of your ceiling fan
This is a simple step that takes less than 10 seconds. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction in which the blades rotate. During the winter, you want them to rotate counterclockwise. Doing so pushes hot air from your ceiling down to the floor, thereby increasing the efficiency of your heat.
2. Clean your gutters
While taking care of other exterior maintenance for autumn, grab a ladder and remove leaves and other debris from your gutters. When you're done scooping everything out, follow up with a rinse from your hose. When the snow begins to fall, it needs to properly drain. Clogged gutters can lead to blockage, which can then lead to ice dams. As water gets backed up in the gutters, it can freeze and start to seep into your home.
Once you're done, hop off the ladder and examine the direction of your downspouts. Ensure they are pointing away from your house for proper drainage.
3. Insulate your home
Poor insulation can leave you shivering during the winter. The heat that escapes can melt ice and snow on your roof, thereby causing water damage.
Install more insulation in your attic and walls to keep heat from leaving your home. Not only will this strategy help you stay warm, it can also lower your energy bill. With less heat escaping the house, your heating system won't have to work as hard.
4. Seal leaks in your home
During the winter, there are few things worse than a nagging draft in the house. Look for leaks while the temperatures are still warm, both on the interior and exterior of the property. Here are some tips for blocking spaces where cold air can slip into your house:
- Check around window and door frames as well as electrical outlets, recessed lighting, dryer vents, fans and places where cable and phone lines run into the house.
- Use weather-resistant caulk and masonry sealer for leaks on the exterior.
- For the interior, you can use caulk, door sweeps and outlet gaskets to keep the cold air at bay.
5. Stop window drafts
Depending on your budget, you have two options for preventing drafts from coming in through your windows. The first option is to purchase an insulation kit, which includes sheets of plastic film that are affixed over your windows with double-sided tape. They are shrink wrapped to the frame with a hair dryer for a tight seal. If you have funds to spare, you can upgrade to storm windows instead.
6. Don't forget your chimney
Although fireplaces are a great source of heat in the winter, a lot of the warmth in your home can escape through the chimney. Use a chimney balloon to keep the heat within your house.