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How to Get Your Home Ready for Cold Weather

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When cold or icy conditions are in the forecast, you need to protect your home’s structure while also protecting your budget from unnecessary heating costs. Many indoor tasks that prepare your home for cold weather also help it feel cozy, but outdoor tasks are vital, too.

Get Your Heating System Ready

Schedule a professional furnace tuneup to ensure all working parts are in shape for the season. At a minimum, clean the furnace yourself by shutting off the system and removing the cover, then vacuum away dust, change the filter, and put the cover back on.

Reprogram Your Thermostat

According to the Department of Energy, turning your thermostat down 7-8° daily will reduce your heating bill by 10% per year. If you work outside the home, set it to 60-65°F while you’re gone. Working from home? Set your thermostat that low during sleeping hours when you’ll be warm under the covers.

Get Your Fireplace Ready

Dust buildup in a fireplace turns to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when you light a fire. So empty your fireplace and vacuum it. If it’s gas, use compressed air to blow out the dust instead.

Then have your chimney inspected to prevent chimney fires and high carbon monoxide levels in your home. (And be sure to check out how to find free firewood!)

Protect Pipes and Outdoor Irrigation

Turn off the outdoor water supply before your area’s first hard freeze date. Remove, drain, and coil garden hoses for the season, then cover the outdoor spigot with an insulated faucet bag or another protectant device.

For lawn sprinklers, shut off the outdoor water supply, then have your landscaper or irrigation company blow out the lines with a compressor. Skipping or delaying these tasks will lead to expensive pipe bursts that can damage your home.

Change Batteries

Some people change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors during Spring Cleaning, while others wait until Daylight Saving Time ends in November.

The important thing is to change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms every year so you know they’re working. Remember to dust them monthly and never paint them so their sensors can do their job.

Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades

If your ceiling fans run all summer, they’re probably coated in dust. To clean them, use an extension pole and a ceiling fan brush. Then push the switch on the side of the motor housing to reverse the fan’s direction, so your fan pulls cool air toward the ceiling and sends collected warm air down to keep you warm.

Move Seats to the Center

Your living room’s fireplace is a natural focal point in colder months. So, preparing your home for fall often means rearranging rooms. One frugal way to stay warm is by moving seating areas away from exterior walls and drafty windows. When you’re warm sitting in your favorite spot, you’re less likely to crank up the thermostat.

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies

Get your home ready for cold weather by ensuring you have enough food, water, medication, and other necessities to get through at least three days without power or heat. During winter, it’s also important to keep your car’s gas tank at least 1/4 full to avoid freezing fuel lines and to have a good supply of salt or ice melt ready before the first storm.

Add Weatherstripping and Caulk

The older your home is, the more likely it has gaps around windows and doors. To find them, close windows and entrances and slowly move a lit stick of incense or a candle around the edges. If the smoke or flame flutters, you’ve got a gap. Seal it with caulk or weather-stripping.

Check Trees

Although it’s usually best to wait to trim shrubs and trees until they’ve finished blooming in the Spring, don’t put off trimming tree branches that allow animals access to your roof or which bang against windows or siding on gusty days.

Prep and Put Away Lawn Tools

Once you’ve finished your outdoor tasks to get your home ready for winter, gather up and prep your lawn and garden tools for storage. Sand wood handles and repaint them if they’re rough. Oil any metal parts to protect them from rust and sharpen your lawnmower blades before storage. Also, be sure to empty all machinery fuel tanks so they don’t seize up over the winter.

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2 Comments

  1. Carla Rancatore White says:

    We also flip our mattresses and change out our bedspreads for warmer comforters and sheets as
    live in a cold area for winter (northern Indiana ). This is also the time we put up our camping equipment and outside furniture that shouldn’t be exposed to the elements of winter ( flower pots included).

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Great suggestions, Carla!

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