Prepare Your Home for Winter

I am not sure what happened but damn it was cold today. We went to the pumpkin patch with the kids and had to bundle up — we severely underestimated the level of cold. I checked the weather to be sure of the temperature and there is a freeze warning. I wasn’t expecting it to get this cold this soon and there is still a lot I haven’t done to be ready for Winter. Luckily the forecast for the rest of the week is pretty promising with temperatures expected to be up in the mid 70’s again. That break in the weather is going to be the perfect time to get my winter prep done. What follows is just a few of the things you need to make sure you take care of to be ready for the winter.

  1. Inspect caulking – Inspect the caulking around the windows and doors to make sure it hasn’t separated or broken down. If you find caulking is pulling away or broken down you need to clean it away and replace with new exterior grade caulking.
  2. Disconnect and Store Your Hoses – Hoses left connected to your house could be the most expensive and dangerous thing. Water expands as it freezes and when that happens inside a copper pipe it will burst and you won’t know it until it heats up enough to thaw and floods your house.
  3. Clear your Garden and Prep it – Your garden is most likely toast at this point. Clean it up and throw the left overs on the compost pile. Prepping your garden now will save you time and energy in the spring.
  4. Bleed your water heater – Drain a couple of gallons from the lower valve on you water heater. This will clear any sediment which has settled in the base of the heater.
  5. Prepare you Mower for Storage – Mow that one last time and then either drain or run the last of the gas out of your mower. Go ahead and sharpen you blade and change the oil as well to be ready for spring. If you have any gas left over use it in your car or add a fuel stabilizer. Gas goes bad.
  6. Winterize you boat – If you have a boat you need to put it up for the winter. Change the oil, change your lower unit oil, fill it with gas and add a stabilizer, and flush your coolant system with an environmentally safe antifreeze.
  7. Fertilize for winter – If it isn’t to late in the fall go ahead and aerate and fertilize using a winter fertilizer mix. This will help you lawn stay healthy through the hard winter ahead.
  8. Check Your Heating System – Have a qualified HVAC technician come out and inspect your heating and air systems and perform any required maintenance. If necessary clean your ducts.
  9. Replace Your Air Filters – Replace the air intake filters on your HVAC system. Replacing the filters regularly improves the efficiency of your heater as well as the air conditions in your home.
  10. Replace Smoke Detector Batteries – For the safety of you and your loved ones make sure the batteries are fresh in your fire detectors.
  11. Clean the Gutters – If you have a lot of trees in your area you are going to have to do this again but get up on the ladder and clean out the gutters.
  12. Install a Programmable Thermostat – If you haven’t already get yourself a good programmable thermostat and set your program for winter heating. They are a great way to save on your heating and cooling costs.
  13. Inspect Driveways and walkways for cracks – Again water expands when it freezes. If you have cracks in your drive or walkways it will make those cracks bigger as the water seeps in and freezes. Now is a good time fill those cracks and prepare for the freezing temperatures ahead.
  14. Replace Screen Door with Storm – If you are like me and have a replaceable screen door pop it out and put in the storm door version. Be careful though if your house faces south, my metal front door is warping from the heat build up between the storm and front door.
  15. Seal any holes in your exterior – Walk around the exterior of your home and note anywhere where cables or pipes puncture the exterior of your home. In all of these places you will want to seal the space with expandable foam or exterior caulk. Holes will let the cold air into you house and increase your heating costs.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Jabs October 19, 2009 at 11:12 am

Disconnecting/storing my hoses and preparing my mower for storage are two biggies that I should probably do ASAP… especially since I live in Michigan and we have already had several frosts!

Thanks for the reminder Kyle!

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2 toddriffic October 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Good timing on this post…I JUST mowed for the last time this year and drained the gas out of the mower!

Last year I built a window and door to close off a room that didn’t have proper insulation or a heater (sort of a mudroom but not really) the next energy bill (Dec.) was LITERALLY $50 cheaper (from Nov.’s)!! Best thing I ever did to save money.

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3 MoneyEnergy October 19, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Great resource post here – I rent, don’t own, but I’m going to need to put plastic “winterizer” on my windows to keep out drafts. That’s about the only winterizing I can do – heat, etc. all controlled by building. There are things on this list like bleeding your water heater that I’d never know about:)

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4 kenyantykoon October 20, 2009 at 4:55 am

luckily i will not have to suffer this long winter but i will be sure to follow some of the helpful pointers in your post to fortify the house

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