Cozy Winter Checklist: 15 Easy Tips to Winterize Your Home
Winterizing your home helps tackle the cold head on! While you get your cozy blankets and warm sweaters out, a few preventive measures to protect your home from the harsh winter can do wonders.
With easy weatherproofing, you’ll be able to minimize your energy bills and keep your home comfortable. And who doesn’t love to save some extra cash for holiday shopping, right?
Let’s get to work!
It’s always best to start winterizing a bit early. Fall is the perfect time to carry out these activities rather than wait for the weather to plummet. You want your home to be ready before the cold winds hit because nobody likes to work on home improvements in chilly weather with numb fingers!
15 Winterizing Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy
We have compiled 15 fantastic tips for winterizing your home. These are cost-effective tricks, and you don’t even need to put in a lot of effort! Here is our checklist to help winterize your home:
- Get your Heating System Checked
- Use Smart Home Devices
- Protect Your Pipes from Freezing
- Add Reflectors to Your Radiators
- Slash the Bills
- Flush the Water Heater
- Upgrade Your Attic Insulation
- Get Rid of Unvented Space Heaters
- Use Chimney Balloon
- Get Draft Guards
- Weatherproof Your House Spaces
- Use Weatherstrip Tape
- Check the Gutters
- Seal the Cracks
- House the Hose
1. Get your Heating System Checked
Your heating system will naturally be the single appliance you will use almost regularly throughout the winter season. Thus, it makes perfect sense to give it a detailed look before putting it to use.
Check the air filters of your heating system. If they have accumulated dirt or dust, take them out, wash them, and leave them out to dry. Once completely dry and clean, put them back in. Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy clean air from your heating system all winter round. A clean filter will provide you much cleaner air and save on your energy bills by as much as 15%.
If you want to have a more detailed check-up of your HVAC system, you’d need help from a licensed HVAC technician for the system to work even more efficiently. Maintenance checks and fixing notches can help to keep your system remain efficient all season.
2. Smart Home Devices Save You Effort
In addition to energy savings, smart home accessories are a surefire way to increase your comfort in winters! Smart home devices are the latest technology and are an integral part of how to winterize your home guides. You can use a ‘smart water leak detector’ near your boiler or water heater to alert you in case of a leakage. You can also use a smart mattress heating pad to keep you cozy while you enjoy sweet dreams.
For central heating systems, smart thermostats can be utilized to maintain a preferable home climate. If you have a ductless heat pump, then smart AC controllers should be your go-to device to automate your heating. This may sound unbelievable, but your smart choices can help your room maintain a comfortable temperature at all times, and that too on its own. Moreover, you can set up schedules for the whole week and use temperature and humidity triggers to maintain the perfect environment. All this saves up to 25% energy!
Water expands when it freezes and this can be hazardous for your pipes! If the temperature drops below 32, your pipes can fracture or burst. Before the extreme cold sets in, always check your pipes for any blockages. A blocked pipe is more prone to cracking under extreme cold due to the buildup of pressure. The pipes outside your home, such as garden hoses or sprinklers, can be disconnected and turned off.
Insulate your pipes and do a detailed check to look for any cracks. Pipes in areas such as the garage or empty vacation homes are very vulnerable to freezing as they usually are not heated during winter and can reach freezing temperatures. Ductless heat pumps offer a great solution with the innovative Freeze Protection mode, which allows your heat pump to run at around 46 degrees to prevent freezing temperatures. Hence, consuming a minimal amount of energy.
4. Add Reflectors to Your Radiators
Radiators are almost always installed right next to the walls, making one side practically ineffective in transmitting heat to the room. Only the wall heats up on that side, reducing the effect of the radiator. To prevent this issue, it is wise to install a reflector on the wall beside the radiator.
As the name suggests, a reflector will reflect the heat away from the wall and back towards the center of the room, making it heat up much better than before. When coupled with reflectors, radiators can function to their maximum, without any energy wastage.
5. An Energy Audit Saves You Money
Among all the tips on winterizing your home, knowing how to cut down your energy bills is the most crucial. As the winter season approaches, call your local power company to conduct your energy assessments. The professional will suggest some changes to make your home energy-efficient that’ll save you money.
Moreover, not just during winter but following energy saving tips throughout the year will help you slash your energy bills with a noticeable difference in every seasons.
6. Flush Out the Water Heater
Before winter sets in, be sure to flush your water heater or boiler system. After remaining in-operational for long during the summer months, sediment and other particles can settle in the outlets reducing the water heater’s efficiency.
Flush the drain valve once before the winter season starts to keep your water heater perfectly functional. Moreover, even during the winter season, don’t forget draining the flush valve at least once a month to remain on the safe side.
7. Don’t Forget Your Attic
It is essential to insulate your attic to keep your home warm. Unfortunately, there is no insulation in the attic of some houses, or it is too low. This makes the room’s ceiling underneath your attic quite cold, making the room chillier than it should be.
It is good to install insulation in the attic to prevent the conduction of cold throughout the floors below. An attic is mostly neglected when discussing weather insulation, but in most cases, it is the single most useful addition you can make to winterize your home.
8. Get Rid of Unvented Space Heaters
Gas space heaters are a great way to introduce a lot of heat into an indoor space, but they can be equally dangerous. The way they work, directly putting heat through combustion into the room, fills the place with hazardous Carbon Monoxide gas. Without any means to keep the air circulating, this gas can build up in the room and be potentially fatal.
It’s best to opt for different heating means than risky space heaters. If there is absolutely no option, opt for the much safer electric space heaters than gas space heaters.
9. Use Chimney Balloons
Even if you have the rest of your home sealed up, having a chimney would mean a big hole in the room and a way for the cold wind from outside into the heated space. As much as you’d want to keep the chimney open for Santa, the most obvious solution to keep the chilled air out is to close off this space.
A chimney balloon inflates like any other balloon and acts as a blocker to prevent heat loss. It creates an airtight seal within the chimney. If your chimney does not have a damper, or in case it’s broken or damaged, a chimney balloon is a must buy.
Small leaks and holes in the interior space can add up and result in drafts, introducing cold air into the room. According to the US Department of Energy, the total energy wastage from these leaks can be around $400 annually. And if you keep a proper check, all this money can be saved! Potential sources of drafts entering your home are door hinges, under door spaces, broken window seals, power outlets, and other wall fittings.
Commercially available draft guards are flexible pieces of foam that can slide in under your doors and windows, sealing them up so that no air can come in from the outside. This prevents your room from continually losing heat.
11. Weatherproof your House
Another item to add to the winterizing your home checklist is weatherproofing. It is the combination of multiple easy and low-cost steps that keep your home warm and cozy. These include giving your walls and deck a fresh coat of sealer to prevent the moisture in ice and snow from soaking into the concrete surface and weakening it when it freezes. You can also seal your windows to prevent cold drafts, caulk doors, and window hinges to keep cold out, replacing improperly fitted wall outlets and vents, and much more.
All these steps add up and contribute significantly to keeping your room warm and comfortable.
12. Use Weather-strip Tape
Another tip for winterizing your home, i.e., weatherstrip tape, is for the little nooks and crannies which are hard to reach. These places can be the window sash, attic hatches, and immovable windows, which have degraded over time.
If you have wooden walls, then there can be random cracks and crevices developed over the years. It is a good idea then to apply weatherstrip along the crack’s length so that the room is perfectly sealed, ensuring you a comfortable and warm winter.
13. Check the Gutters
Gutters should most definitely be cleaned thoroughly before winter sets in, but why? First up, blocked gutters can result in the accumulation of water. This puddle can then serve as a breeding ground for mold and algae seeping into the interior walls.
Moreover, leaves and twigs which have been shed during the fall season can block off the gutters. When the winter sets in, the rain & snow falls, the blocked gutters cannot carry the water away, freezing over and making ice dams that can be potentially deadly.
14. Seal the Cracks
Before the winter season, look out for cracks, holes, or gaps to stop cold air infiltration. You can use high-quality acrylic-latex caulk or expanding-foam sealant to fill any air-leaking gaps. Pay extra attention to the areas around and outside of doors, windows, hose faucets, and where the siding overlaps the foundation.
You can also swap your lightweight summer curtains with thermal lined curtains and drapes to keep the chilly air out. This tip to winterize your home will keep your home warm at all times and help reduce your heating bills.
15. House the Hose
Having a garden hose at home would serve you a great deal. It is essential though to detach your garden hose at the end of the summer season. Even if you have a frost-free fixture, you should still remove the hose as winter begins. If you don’t, there are chances for your pipes to freeze and burst.
During the winter season, the hose expands as the water in the hose freezes. Unfortunately, the water pipes cannot stretch, and ice takes up nearly 10% more space than the same amount of liquid water. The frozen water has consequences resulting in:
- Burst pipe
- Broken valves
- Broken Joints
Now that the winterizing your home checklist is complete, be sure to follow all the above steps well before the cold wave sets in so that you are fully prepared to tackle the chilly weather. YouSeal your windows, clean your gutters, get your heating system checked, and enjoy the hassle-free coziest winter!
You may also want to prepare your home for winter emergencies in case you need to face any blizzards, ice storms, or other harsh winter conditions. This can result in power outages or keeping you homebound for weeks! Stocking up on food & supplies, having a secondary source of power, and keeping an emergency kit handy is a must.
Have a great winter!