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7 tips to get your home ready for cold weather

Photo Credit: Kalawin

With the cold season approaching fast, it’s time to prepare your home for the cold weather.

Apply these seven simple tips to increase your home’s energy efficiency and protect it from damage caused by rain, snow, and extremely low temperatures.

1.   Protect Your Pipes

Low temperatures can cause water pipes to freeze. This creates a lot of pressure inside the pipe causing it to burst and likely lead to severe flooding and damage to your home, especially when there’s no one around to turn off the water. To prevent this, keep them warm enough to stay above the freezing point by doing the following:

  • Keep the heat on, especially if you are going away for a while. This will prevent the water in the pipes from freezing.
  • Allow your faucets to drip a little. This will prevent pressure from building up in the pipes, therefore, keeping them from bursting or cracking.
  • Use heating tape to heat your pipes directly. This is the perfect solution to keep short pipe sections warm during the cold spell.
  • Insulate pipes that are in cold areas of your home, such as basements and garages.

2.   Check The Heat

The best time to prepare your house for winter is before winter. You don’t want to be running around trying to insulate the home or fix your heater when it’s freezing. You can ensure that your heating systems are up to per by:

  • Replacing your HVAC filter every season. They collect dust, and if used that way, they won’t be as efficient as they are supposed to be, and everyone loves clean air.
  • Clean your air vents to ensure that there is no blockage from previous build-ups that may end up in your air, and to make sure that there is no obstruction in the airflow.
  • Install a programmable thermostat(if you don’t already have one), and program it to suit your needs. If you already have one, turn it up from time to time before winter to make sure that it’s working properly.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans by setting the blades to turn clockwise. This will circulate warm air from the ceiling into the room.
  • Invest in space heaters especially if you want to reduce your heating costs. Room electric space heaters are more energy efficient than central heating because they allow you to warm specific rooms in your home.

3.   Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams. They occur after heavy snowfalls when heat from the attic warms up the roof, which in turn melts the snow that had settled there. The water then starts running down the roof and refreezes when it reaches the colder parts forming a massive mound of ice that traps “meltwater.”

This water can seep back into your house, causing unwanted damages like stained ceilings, ceiling rots, and peeling paint. The trick to preventing this is keeping your roof cold. So, how do you do that?

  • Get the snow off your roof. This is the easiest and most effective way of preventing ice dams. There won’t be any ice dams if there is no snow to melt.
  • Improve the insulation and ventilation in your attic. Insulation will keep heat where it belongs, and ventilation will ensure that excess heat can escape, but not through the roof.
  • Install ice and water shielding under your roof. This will not prevent ice dams from forming, but it will keep the water out of your home.
  • Installing a new roof, metal to be precise, will prevent ice dams because the ice has nothing to grip on. They are also less likely to leak.

4.   Clean and Store Lawn Equipment

You’ve spent time mowing lawns, trimming hedges and all that, but its almost winter now. Give your faithful mowing companion the treatment it deserves before putting it away for the winter. Spend a little time doing the following, and you’ll be happier in spring.

  • Remove the battery and store it in a cool and dry place – away from your furnace, gas cans or heaters. Clean the battery terminal too.
  • Clean your mower by brushing or hosing off grass, leaves, and mud before storing it.
  • Use stabilized fuel to keep your mower in shape for the next season. Regular gas degrades in as little as 30 days, and this can cause some severe damage to your machine.using stabilized fuel eliminates the need to drain fuel before storage. If you can’t get stabilized fuel, drain the gas before storage.
  • Keep your machine in a dry place and protected places such as a garden shed or garage.

5.   Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney

Inspecting and cleaning your fireplace and chimney is a dirty job but it must be done because it is vital to its functionality in your home.

You can do the sweep yourself or get a professional to remove the soot and debris to keep your home safe. To properly inspect your fireplace and chimney.

  • Check and fix the cracks and loose joints in the firebox.
  • Check the damper. The meatal should be solid with no cracks or rusted sections. If there’s a problem, hire a professional to fix it because it is not a DIY job.
  • Check the flue for damages and if there are any, get a certified professional to do it.

6.   Seal Windows and Doors

When winter comes, you don’t want drafty doors and windows to disturb your comfort. The solution? Insulate your windows and doors. You can do this by”

  • Weatherstripping – Use felt, foam tapes and door sweeps to keep warm air in and cold drafts out of your home.
  • Window insulation film – This is a plastic film that can be applied to the interior of your windows to reduce heat transfer.
  • Cellular shades – also known as honeycomb shades, are the most convenient and energy-efficient window shades to install. Not only do they keep your house warm during winter, but they also make your home look lovely.

7.   Stock Up on cold weather Essentials

It is good to have a winter emergency kit to protect yourself from the winter unknowns,. Below are some of the most common things that you’ll thank yourself for having in your home when the winter rage arrives.”

  • A fire extinguisher with easy access.
  • A backup generator for when the power goes out.
  • Back up heating sources
  • Sand, ice melt and shovel to deal with extraordinarily icy and snowy days
  • Alternative communication methods for when cell towers are down.

Shannon is an HVAC Technician and the editor for She shares tips and advice homeowners on how to improve the quality of air in their homes as well as recommend some of the best home air quality appliances.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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