First, it’s important to be prepared. Winter storms can come out of nowhere and there are always things you don’t think you will need until you do. There are plenty of emergency supply lists out there but the basic supplies you want to have on hand are a snow shovel, extra water and food, and backup batteries.
Second, head outside to take care of any maintenance before the snow hits. Check your gutters and clean them of any debris build-up. If your gutters are full they can cause ice dams and icicles to form which can damage your roof and pose a danger to anyone walking nearby. This is also a good time to caulk up any cracks in the window or door frames to prevent the cold air from coming in. If you have a wooden deck you may want to add an extra coat of sealer to protect it from moisture and save you some work in the spring when the thaw comes.
Third, head back inside for the final preparations. Some of the most simple fixes can keep you from spending a bunch on heating. If you have an attic you may want to add more insulation to keep the warm downstairs air from leaking upstairs. Windows and doors are the leading cause of cold air in the house, with leaky frames and panes letting the heat out and the cold in. To fix gaps buy a draft guard that slides under your door, or put a towel or blanket down in front for an easier solution. Windows can be fixed a number of ways; you can install double-pane windows, caulk around the frames, weatherstrip, or use insulating film.
Your pipes are at the most risk during the winter when the cold weather will freeze any standing water causing pipes to burst and a huge mess. To prevent this make sure your indoor pipes are well insulated and any exposed water to outdoor pipes should be turned off with valves and drains open to let out extra water. Your water heater should also be flushed to get rid of any debris and keep water moving through the pipes. Then use faucet and pipe covers to keep them insulated.
Checking your heating methods is important before turning them on. Making sure there is no build-up in your chimney or filters on furnaces will prevent fires from starting in your home. Installing a programmable thermostat will keep your heating bill low while also keeping your home toasty warm. This type of thermostat allows you to set the times you want the heat on (when everyone is home) and when you want it off (when no one is home).
Though the weather outside may be frightful, your house doesn’t need to be. If you follow this advice on winterizing your home you will stay nice and toasty during the cold winter months.