Unless you live in Florida, it’s time to face reality: Winter is coming.
Before you know it, the leaves will fall from the trees and the first snow will fall. Maybe you’ve already bought new coats for the kids and snow tires for the car.
But what about your house? Is it properly prepared for the upcoming winter season?
Winterizing houses is a process many people aren’t familiar with—especially new homeowners. Some things you’ll want to leave to the pros, but other tasks you can probably handle yourself.
Here are our expert tips to ensure your home is ready for winter.
1. Add Insulation for Attics
Relying on unvented space heaters wastes energy and increases your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. A better strategy is to prevent heat from leaving your house in the first place.
The EPA recommends homeowners to use a minimum of R-38 insulation and layer it to a depth of 10 to 14 inches. Ideally, it should provide uniform and complete coverage without any lumps or gaps.
2. Switch to a Programmable Thermostat
Slash your energy costs this winter by installing a programmable thermostat.
You can schedule it to turn on the heat in the mornings when everyone is getting ready for work and school. Then you can program it to lower the heat during the day while everyone is gone and to warm up again as everyone arrives home.
Bonus: If you get a smart thermostat, you can monitor and adjust it from anywhere with your phone!
3. Replace Weather Stripping
No matter how great a job your home builders did, the original weather stripping around your doors and windows will eventually wear out.
Check all your exterior doors for any weather stripping that’s crushed, ripped, or missing. Next, check for any air-leaking gaps on all four edges of the door. You can detect any drafts by slowly passing a lit incense stick around the perimeter—even a slight draft will increase the smoke stream!
Another step to winterizing houses is to check under all your doors. If there’s any sunlight getting through, you’ll want to install a door sweep or raise the threshold.
4. Caulk Holes & Cracks
While we’re on the subject of stopping cold air infiltration, let’s talk about holes and cracks.
Buy a high-quality expanding-foam sealant or acrylic-latex caulk and use it to fill any visible gaps. Pay particular attention to the outside of your windows, doors, and hose faucets.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works!
5. Install Storm Windows
If you bought an older home, it may still have traditional single-pane windows. While these look nice, they’re not terribly efficient at keeping your house warm.
Give your home a winterizing makeover by installing insulated storm windows. These provide an amazingly effective barrier against snow, ice, and cold winds.
You can even remove them in the spring and save them for the next winter season.
Final Thoughts on Winterizing Houses
Winterizing houses might seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a new homeowner or new to a cold climate. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll ensure your home is safe and ready to stay warm all winter long.
Did you find this article helpful? Be sure to browse our other Home & Garden posts for more great information.