Winter is just around the corner. You may not be looking forward to it, but you can at least prepare for it! One of the best things that you can do right now is to winterize your home. It doesn't have to be anything big – some rooms in your house need sprucing up, or you could organize your garage (or even take on a bigger project like sealing up any air leaks or installing a new smart thermostat). Preparing your home for winter while the weather is still decent gives you more time to enjoy the holidays. So less time fixing and more time holidaying.
Living in Ohio we tend to get some pretty brutal winters. It is not abnormal in Ohio to start winterizing your home in Mid-September to early October since we can get hit with a brutal winter out of the blue. I remember about 10 years ago when we were trick or treating in the snow. Now that was brutal.
Anyway, when it comes to winterizing our home, we typically do the basics, plastic on windows, door drift stoppers, etc. However, since we had our home completely insulated earlier this year, we want to do a bit more to keep the energy costs down.
I know it seems like we are still far away from having those cold temperatures and snow, but trust me, you do not want to leave this until closer to the end of fall/start of winter because everything will get backed up quickly (trust me on that one).
4 Easy Things to Do to Winterize Your Home
Here are 12 things that I have learned to do over the years, that you can do right now to winterize your home before old man winter comes around again:
Do an Exterior Check:
Fixing any cracks in exterior walls or possibly broken windows where water or air may seep through. Fixing any cracks in your foundation, even if they are small cracks, by using some cement patching. Larger cracks you may want to investigate to make sure there isn't a structure issue.
Inspect and repair the roof to make sure the shingles are not curling or missing. Make sure while you are checking your roof that your gutters are not loose or full. Loose gutters are hazards, as they can detach from the home and cause damage to the roof, siding, and possibly break a window.
When it comes time to winterize your home, often people forget to clean out gutters. But, cleaning them out ensures they can handle all snow/rain that may fall through them during the winter months. I find this is oftentimes an overlooked thing to do before cold weather because people don't want water or ice dams on their roofs now! You need that guttered cleaned now so you have a clean slate for when it freezes up later on.
Window and Door Check:
Replacing weather stripping on all exterior doors and windows are simple and easy ways to winterize your home. Foam weather stripping should be replaced every couple of years to ensure the best seal. If you opt for rubber stripping, make sure there are no cracks, slices, or broken-off pieces. Seal up any air leaks by using caulk or weather stripping around doors and windows.
Living in a 130 yr old house, we do this every year because we are always finding new leaks that need to be sealed up! One spot we were getting some pretty heavy drafts from was from under our doors. We installed under the door seals on our exterior doors and since then, it's been so much nicer, even in the summer when we have the AC is blasting.
When checking doors and windows, also check that the glass is sealed. Sometimes the seals on the windows start peeling up due to harsh chemicals that are used when washing windows. If any of the seals are lifted, missing, or crack, now is a good time to replace them before it's too cold outside.
Cellar or Basement Check
Wrap exposed pipes with insulation wrap if needed. This will help prevent frozen pipes from burst plumbing costs down the road (which again…trust me…you do NOT want.) We had a pipe burst mid-winter our first year in our home. It was not fun. Luckily, our cellar had nothing that could get damaged in it so the repair was easier than it could have been. Plus wrapping those pipes simply makes sense, especially if you are living in a colder area of the country.
Every little bit helps when it comes to saving money on your heating bills. An insulation blanket, or water heater blanket, is exactly what it sounds like and a simple, inexpensive way to winterize your home. It's a blanket that wraps around your water heater to keep it from losing heat. It also helps your water heater to maintain a consistent temperature.
Update your thermostat
Having a thermostat that is out of date can drive up your energy costs. Newer energy efficient, digital, smart thermostats help keep your energy usage low and help to save you money over the long run and are a quick and painless way to winterize your home. They are simple to install. Here's a great how-to video to troubleshoot a thermostat. There are 4 different types of thermostats. This video explains the differences between them and how to install them like a pro.