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Winterize Your Home | Prepare for Cold Weather

Winterize Your Home

Whether you enjoy colder weather or not, your home will require certain attention in preparation for low temps. We want to make sure you stay ahead of the game this season with some steps to winterizing your home. If this winter is anything like the last (remember the big snowstorm of January 2022 that caused a 14-hour shutdown of I-95, week-long power outages, and a shortage of generators??), we want to help you be prepared to the best of your ability. 

1. House the hose. If you have exterior hoses on your home, remove them all, drain them, and store them away. Shut off the valves and insulate the faucet.

2. Clear the gutters. To ensure your gutters don’t freeze or get backed up, clear out any leaves and nesting that accumulated over fall. Installing gutter guards can be a great idea as well. 

3. Insulate your attic. If you have an attic space, be sure your attic floor is properly insulated. The attic should be well-ventilated and about 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Be sure to go up there a time or two in the cold months to check on it.

4. Protect the pipes. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees (f), keep a stream of water running in a few faucets to guard against freezing and bursting. To protect plumbing under kitchen and bathroom sinks, consider opening the cabinet doors so warm air can surround the pipes.

Because we live in the DMV, you may need to take extra steps to prepare your pipes: speak with a local home improvement store worker on the best ways to proceed whether it be with tubular pip wrap or insultations fittings.

5. Check your heating system. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to clear any buildup and to keep them running efficiently. Heating systems notoriously give people a hard time when they’re needed most. Stay ahead of those issues by being proactive! 

6. Keep Out Cold Air. Save yourself from a crazy heating bill. While it’s a tedious extra step, consider weather stripping your storm doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering your home, or heat escaping it. You can also use foam outlets and caulk around the windows. 

7. Get a programmable thermostat. In the winter, you should adjust your thermostat as necessary. If you are home, it is recommended that the thermostat is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are planning to leave (i.e. if you go to work each day), you should have the home set to 65 degrees. A programmable thermostat saves you the trouble of having to remember when to adjust and this way your system won’t run when you don’t need it to. 

8. Bring in outdoor furniture and plants. Some of your plants and flowering plants may need to come inside before the first frost in order to keep them alive. If you’ve got a greenhouse, even better! While you could cover outdoor furniture and grills, bringing them into the garage or basement could increase the lifespan of your appliances and furniture. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the valve and disconnect the tank before bringing it in. The tanks stay outdoors! 

9. Clean your filters. If you want to ensure your furnace is efficient, replace your filters. Dirty filters obstruct airflow. It’s a win-win because clean filters can keep cold winter illnesses at bay. 

10. Inspect your roof. If snow is in the forecast, your roof can take a beating. Inspect your roof before the first snowfall and look for broken or missing shingles. Check the attic for water leaks. Stay extra prepared by investing in a roof rake.

Extra Steps, if applicable.

If you live in a heavily wooded area, check out your trees and track their path: question whether they could fall on your house in the case of an intense storm. If your house is on well water, keep filtered water (maybe a case or a few jugs) somewhere in the home in case of a power outage. And lastly, if you are susceptible to power outages and do not have a fireplace to heat your home in an emergency, consider ordering a generator ASAP. 

Once you knock our your winterizing checklist, you can cozy up and enjoy your home stress free.

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