So, winter is arriving. Cold winds, freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and blizzards are heading your way. You feel protected because you have the shelter of your house. But are you sure that your place can handle the onslaught on the season? The structure sure can but is your house winter-proof. If not, your home can suffer from serious issues that can make you quite uncomfortable in the winters.
Don’t worry! We have got this covered for you. We have compiled an exhaustive list of how to winterize a house. The steps include checklists for preparation and DIY hacks to assuring your home is all prepped up for the winters.
Our checklist on “how to winterize a house” is divided into “4” categories covering all the essential elements that make sure that you spend the season comfortably with reduced utility and repair bills. The four classifications are:
- Taking care of the Plumbing and Sewerage
- Taking care of insulation and weather stripping.
- Taking care of the heat in the house.
- Making the place safe and comfortable.
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How to winterize a House:
Let us start the discussion with the first and essential category taking care of the plumbing and the sewerage.
Your home’s plumbing and sewerage lines are all vulnerable to freezing temperatures and may suffer serious leaks, bursts, and blockages. Water and sewerage are essential for your survival in the winters, and the prevention of these lines and pipes is of priority when winterizing your place.
Steps to Winterize your Plumbing and Sewerage:
- Install control valves on all water outlets and inlets. Even consider the pipes going towards the water heating systems. Installing such valves is a one-time task. These valves work well for many years.
- Drain the faucets and water outlets that are outside the house and make sure their valves are shutoff. Draining the water in the lines outside will make sure the lines are clear and not frozen.
- Install emergency pressure release in the plumbing to ensure lines don’t burst if blocked with frozen water.
- Make sure all the pipes that are unconcealed are insulated well. Insulation sleeves and slip-on foam covers are available at your nearest hardware store. Use them to wrap and leave no open ends. Use duct tape to cover ends.
- You cannot empty the water storage tanks since you are in the house. A wise suggestion is to insulate the access points of the tanks so cold temperatures have minimized effect.
- Install guards on the roof guttering to avoid any blockage and frozen water.
- Clean the gutters before the season’s arrival to ensure no excess water is present in the system when the cold reaches.
- Have an expert check and diagnose issues with the plumbing and sewerage system and resolve the problems before the winters come.
Taking care of the insulation and weather stripping is the next step in the process of how to winterize a house. Insulation and weather-stripping will make sure that external environmental factors have reduced effects on the internal atmosphere. The steps will help in keeping maximum heat inside the home.
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Steps to Weather-strip and Insulate:
- Install double-paned storm glass on the windows of the house. The storm windows allow lesser freezing temperatures to affect the home.
- Properly insulate the attic in your house. As per EPA guidelines, use R-38 insulating material in attic insulation. Insulated attics don’t allow the heat from the rooms below to escape the house. It helps in keeping the overall temperature of the house at quite a comfortable level at all times.
- Use caulk and sealants to seal any gaps in the windows and the openings. Sealing such openings hinders the path of cold weather entering the house.
- Close all large ventilation vents. Keep at least one vent open to allow fresh air inside the house. You need fresh oxygen to breathe, don’t you!
- Install weather strips and ice scrapers on the edges of the doors.
- Cover your air-conditioning units with tarps. Covering ACs reduces drafts that get in from the AC vents and stops rodents and insects from living inside the machine.
- Install electric socket gaskets.
The heating inside the home is at the 3rd spot on our list of how to winterize a house. Heating and heating equipment cost serious money, and the above steps in the list can help you reduce the heating bills. But without proper heating, you cannot survive the winter season.
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Steps to Make Sure you Have Heat in the House:
- Have a professional tune-up of your heating systems and furnaces before the season arrives.
- Change the filters of your furnace blowers and heating vents at least every two months. Blocked filters hinder the flow of air that causes the furnace to bear higher loads, and reduces its efficiency.
- If you have a boiler installed, have it thoroughly checked and insulate inlet pipes to prevent the water inside from freezing.
- Reverse the direction of the fan to anticlockwise. Anticlockwise rotation allows the warm air to flow throughout the room rather than on the ceiling.
- Install an automatic digital thermostat and connect your heating systems to it. Automated thermostats keep the temperature maintained as desired and save energy and fuel.
- Hang insulated curtains on the windows to enhance the efficiency of the heating systems inside the house.
The last thing you want during the snowy season is an accident around the home. But you cannot deny the fact the mishaps can happen. Our list on how to winterize a house does suggest some measures to prevent such occurrences.
Making the House Safe and Comfortable During Winters:
- Have the driveways and sidewalks cleared of snow and ice and not allow water to gather on spots.
- Have the handrails and supports strengthened. Railings are something to grab on and help yourself when walking on snowy paths or climbing stairs.
- Check the fire and smoke detectors in your home. Replace all the batteries, and all are in working order.
- Keep extra batteries, chargers, emergency lights, your phones charged. Have some extra fuel for the generators in case of a power outage.
- Trim the trees and the dead branches. They may fall upon someone since they become week due to moisture and cold and may cause serious injury.
- Install emergency release on at least one door leading outside.
- Be careful.
- Have your home owner’s insurance options reviewed.
How to Winterize your Motorhome or Trailer:
In case you live in a motor home or a trailer, the steps to winterize are similar to a house.
You do have to take care of the power and the heat inside to prevent you from freezing. Diesel heaters and generators are available in the market. These are portable enough to fit in your motorhome/trailer snugly and provide you with heat and electricity.
Authorities do suggest parking at proper facilities for motorhomes that provide power and have toilets and disposal units.
Home Owner’s Insurance and Winter:
Home owner’s insurance plans provide coverage for any damages sustained due to the onslaught of the freezing season. It is better to be cautious and review your insurance policies and consult your independent insurance agent regarding your insurance plan.