If you moved somewhere cold for the first time or are a first time homeowner, you may be wondering what you need to do to winterize your home and prepare for the cold weather ahead.
There are many tasks you can do that are actually quite easy, even if you have never done them before. Many of these tasks are also very affordable to do yourself. And they can save you money in the long run. Doing some of these tasks before the temperature drips will prevent issues from occurring during the winter or ones you may not notice until it gets warm out again.
Spending time on preventative maintenance will save you time and money on major fixes down the road, so you should always make the time to winterize your home early on.
One thing many first time homeowners or people in cold weather for the first time may not realize is that some winterizing tasks need to be done earlier in the year than others. Do not wait until the first time it snows to start to winterize your home.
Different tasks should be completed at different time periods, so make sure to look into when you should complete the winterizing tasks you need to do.
While not in the house, make sure to also check on your car or other vehicles. If there is an issue at your home, you want to be able to get to the store and deal with it quickly rather than have to take steps to fix your car in the moment.
Below are a few things to know about how to winterize your home properly.
Drain Your Hose
One of the most important things you should make sure to do before the cold winter months hit is to drain your hose and drip systems completely. If water is left in your hose, for example, when it starts to get cold, it can freeze.
Frozen water expands and can crack your hose or other water systems, which can be quite costly.
Instead, drain them of water completely and roll and take in your hoses to ensure they do not get brittle over the winter.
The pipes inside your home will need to be protected in the winter as well. Make sure the pipes in your home are well insulated, as this will prevent them and the water in them from freezing.
Make sure to run water in faucets, even in rooms you don't go in often from time to time to ensure it doesn't freeze and become impossible to use.
You could also leave cabinet doors open so that the pipes under sinks are exposed to the heat in your home, preventing them from freezing.
You winterizing process around your home should also involve cleaning your gutters. Make sure to clean them throughly to prevent ice and other build-up from forming.
You could also add gutter guards to help insulate them.
If you have a large yard or garden you may be wondering what you should do regarding pruning as the temperature starts to fall. While you can still prune during crisp fall months, it is best not to prune plants after the first frost or snow happens.
Dealing with Soil
You should also not till the soil during the year's coldest months. Do so in fall or spring instead.
Around the house, you should look for any cracks or holes that would allow cold air to seep into your home. If you find any, caulk will become your new best friend.
You can use caulk around windows, doors, air conditioner units, and a variety of other places. In some areas, you may want to use weather stripping as well.
It may seem like such a small thing to do, but caulking will create a tighter seal around your home and keep the cold air out.
Before the coldest months, you should check that your heater is working properly. Do not turn it on for the first time on the coldest night of the year, only to realize it is not working correctly.
Do not overwork your heating system by heating your home to 80 degrees Fahrenheit when it is below freezing outside. Instead, opt for a more reasonable temperature that will still keep you warm but does not overwork your system.
If your heating system operates using air ducts, keep them clean so that warm air can get to you easily without too much exertion from your system.
Furnaces and boilers should be serviced at least once a year anyway, so do so in the fall ahead of when it is most needed. You should also have your chimney checked on and cleaned during this time.
Winter is a great time to cozy up under blankets or make a fire, so consider using these as other methods to stay warm beyond just using heat and nothing else.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
You should test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually as well, and doing so before the coldest winter months is a great idea.
You should actually test these every month and replace batteries if they are ever not working.
Clean the Outdoor Area
Slipping is a major concern during icy weather conditions. Make sure to keep your sidewalk and driveway if you have one clear of ice and snow. If it does snow, clean the area quickly. Snow can become compact if left for too long and a lot harder to deal with.
Make sure to clear the ice away as well.
If you have handrails, make sure those are cleaned, as well as many of your guests will want to use them to help balance when walking in bad weather conditions.
You should also keep salt or sand on hand. These can be used on sidewalks and driveways to make them easier to use. Make sure to read local regulations regarding the use of each, as there may be some limitations on what you are allowed to do with sand and salt in the winter.
These can both be purchased at home improvement stores. Ask someone who works there for advice on how to properly distribute either.
When Should I Winterize My Home?
When you should do some of the above winterizing tasks may vary. A general rule of thumb, though, is to do it before winter starts.
By doing it ahead of the coldest months of the year, your home will be ready for the first frost and cold temperatures without you having to frantically run around to prepare the house once temperatures start dropping.
Winterizing a home is something you should be proactive about. Do not wait until it is too late. If you do, you may have some large repair bills come spring or even over the winter when things don't work the way they should around your home.
Waiting to long to winterize can be an incredibly costly mistake and one that is easy to avoid with just a little effort ahead of time.
How Much Does It Cost to Winterize a Home?
The amount of money spent to winterize a home can vary greatly. One of the biggest factors affecting the price will be if you do everything yourself or if you have to hire someone to complete the work for you.
Hiring a professional to get the job done will obviously cost you more. It can save you money come spring, however, if you don't actually know what to do in order to properly winterize your home.
On average, you should expect to spend around $200 to winterize your home. If there is an issue with your pipes or heater, however, that price will increase significantly.
If you have a pool you should also expect the price to increase significantly.
Generally speaking, weatherstripping or caulking will cost around $40 per door, while adding window insulation can cost as little as $20 per window,
A new furnace filter can cost as little as $10 when purchased in bulk.
HVAC and boilers, however, can cost a bit more. Having your HVAC system inspected could cost you more than $300, while a new boiled drain could cost more than $200.
A chimney inspection, meanwhile, could run you around $300. And gutter cleaning could cost $160 if you hire a professional to clean them for you.
If your pipes are not insulated, it could cost as much as $1,000 to do so. This cost will depend on the size of your home and the number of bathrooms in particular.
You may also want to purchase a dehumidifier as part of your winterization process. Dehumidifiers remove water from the air in your home. You can pick just how much water you want to be removed from the air.
Dehumidifiers are often used in basements, as basements tend to have the most moisture out of anywhere in your home.
Mositure in the air may not sound like a big deal, but it can cause mold and mildew. It can also create a musty odor that no one wants to have in their home. A dehumidifier will reduce those odors and the chances of mild and mildew.
Dehumidifiers also reduce dust. So if you are someone with allergies, a dehumidifier can be a great way to lessen them.
Are Park Model Homes Insulated for Winter?
While park model homes are used by many for short-term seasonal use, they can actually be used year round if you winterize them.
There are also some park model homes that are designed for winter specifically.
Park model homes can move with you, though, so if you are not tied to one specific area, winter may be a good time to take you and your park model home somewhere warm.
If you do plan to live somewhere cold during the winter, you will need to take steps to winterize it, just like a traditional house. First, make sure it has a high BTU furnace for warmth, heated tanks, and insulation.
In order to prevent things like mold and mildew from entering your park model home, consider leaving doors open for better airflow. You should also make sure that your aerators and vents are not blocked.
Like with a traditional home, you may want to add caulk to areas like windows for a tighter seal.
You should take steps similar to a traditional home as well to make sure all of your plumbing will work correctly during the winter without facing any issues come summer.
When you winterize, it's also a great time to clean it in its entirety and do annual maintenance work.
Whether you are someone who moved somewhere cold for the first time, is a first time homeowner, or has lived somewhere cold their whole life, it never hurts to have a refresher on how towinterize your home.
Doing so every year before the temperatures start to drop will save you a lot of money and headache come spring. While it may have some initial time and money investment, it is worth it in the long run and definitely necessary to ensure the health of your home and of the people living in it.
Not winterizing your home properly can cause major issues, so make sure you take doing so seriously.
While many winterizing tasks can be done by the homeowner, some will need the help of a professional. You should call the pros when in doubt.
While this may necessitate an initial investment, it will save you money on repairs in the long run and is therefore still a good idea for first time homeowners and people who haven't been in cold weather environments before. You could even ask the professionals what they are doing so you could try it yourself next year.