Every season has its own challenges that come with it. Winter is certainly no different. If you own or rent a house, there are some things that you need to keep in mind to make your winter easier and keep your house warm. Here are 7 steps to making and keeping your house ready for winter.
- Keep in mind your pipes and hoses. Water freezes, and it can do lots of damage. Never let the temperature in your house fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have any pipes that run along the outside of the house, let those faucets drip when it is below freezing to prevent frozen pipes. Make sure to disconnect any hoses outside before temperatures drop.
- Check your roof and gutters. Look for any loose or missing shingles where melting snow could leak through. If you have a flat roof, clean it off. Also, clean your gutters. Look for any trees that have branches overhanging your roof or your power lines and get them trimmed back. (Better yet, get a professional to check for you, and gutter guards can save you from falls, too.)
- Keep your floors dry. Put out mats on the inside and outside of your door for cleaning off shoes from snow and salt. Figure out a way to store your shoes off the floor and in a way that they can dry, ideally investing in a boot tray.
- Keep the cold out. Check your windows and doors for drafts and get them addressed. If you are renting, check with your landlord to see what they want to do. Set your fans on reverse to help push warmth down into the room, instead of pushing it out; they need to be going clockwise in winter. If you have window units for air conditioning, take them out and find a place to store them for the winter.
- Switch out outdoor tools and protect outdoor items. Store any tools or pots you use in warmer weather in a dry space. Cover your patio furniture with a tarp, or get them someplace dry, too. Make sure your winter tools like snow shovels, brushes, or a snowblower are in good working order.
- Protect yourself from fires.
- Test your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.
- This is a good time of year to switch the batteries (unless you buy the ones that have no batteries and last 10 years).
- If you have a fireplace, check for cracks and debris. If you use it regularly, this would be a good time to have it professionally cleaned.
- Clean your dryer vent every time you do laundry.
- Have your dryer duct professionally cleaned as lint bulbs up where you can’t reach it, too!
- Maintain your HVAC. If you have a high-efficiency system, PVC vent pipes need to be cleaned out annually. Those with a boiler system should have their system cleaned every year. Those with gas should have a cleaning about every three years. If your heater has a filter, change it out. Also, if you have central air, protect your air conditioner. A tarp is not recommended. Simply putting a board over it that is bigger around than the air conditioner is sufficient to keep the snow from directly hitting it too hard. Change your filters according to the manufacturer’s directions. Some are monthly; other HEPA filters are changed annually. And in some cases, a professional is recommended to annually inspect and clean it.
With these steps, you should keep your house warm, dry, and safe for you and yours to stay cozy throughout the winter.
For those households with income at or below 175% federal poverty guidelines, check out this website to apply for weatherization assistance and find the local provider near you.
By Bethanie Ryan