15 Tips to Winterize Your Home

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Winterizing your North Carolina home is a smart move. These tips aren’t just for homeowners in colder parts of the state like the mountains. Residents on the coast and other areas where winter is milder will find ways to prepare their homes as well. Since it’s best to winterize before the season’s first snowfall, November to mid-December is the best time to get your home ready for winter. Most of these tips are easy projects homeowners can handle without professional help.

What to Do Outdoors

  1. Clean gutters. Your gutters need to be clear of autumn leaves and other debris to move water away from your foundation. Clogged gutters are more likely to form ice dams. Due to their weight, ice dams can cause gutters to come down. The bigger problem with ice dams is they keep melted snow (better known as water) from draining through the gutters. That water pools and eventually leaks into your home.
  2. Inspect siding. Damaged siding can allow water to leak into your home. Damage that covers a small area can be easily repaired.
  3. Trim tree limbs. Limbs that have grown close to your house could damage your roof or windows during a winter storm.
  4. Drain hose pipes. The purpose is to prevent them from freezing. First, remove the hose or anything else that’s attached to the outdoor faucets. Next, turn off the valve that sends water to the faucets outside. (That valve may be in your basement.) Finally, turn on your outdoor faucets and let them drain. 
  5. Protect your plants. Mulching your landscape plants with about three inches of straw, chopped leaves, or clean hay can prevent damage due to soil’s cycle of freezing and thawing.
  6. Check the roof. If you’re doing your inspection from the ground, binoculars are helpful. Damaged or missing shingles need to be replaced. You’ll want to look at the condition of the flashing around the chimney and roof pipes.
  7. Cover your grill and patio furniture if you’re leaving them outdoors. You may want to bring them inside.

How to Take Care of the Inside

  1. Change the direction of your ceiling fan. Your ceiling fan has a switch that reverses the direction the blades turn. Running the fan clockwise pushes warm air down and brings cold air up.
  2. Replace the air filter. A dirty air filter lowers the efficiency of your HVAC system. You may want to put a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to inspect the air filter once a month during winter.
  3. Flush the water heater to remove sediment build-up. Although this is a project many homeowners choose to do, getting professional help is wise if your water heater has never been flushed or hasn’t been flushed in years. The excessive amount of sediment can clog the drain valve, which keeps it from closing.
  4. Swap out the screens to turn your screen door back into a storm door. Putting up storm windows makes your home more comfortable. They keep out drafts and improve insulation.
  5. Schedule a professional inspection for your fireplace and chimney if you plan to use them during winter. For unused fireplaces, consider getting a chimney balloon to keep cold air out.
  6. Set your thermostat for colder weather. The EPA suggests setting your thermostat to 68 degrees to save energy.
  7. Check windows and doors for drafts. Apply caulking or weatherstripping to stop air leaks. A door sweep can block cold air that coming in under the door.
  8. Insulate your pipes. Preventing the pipes from freezing isn’t the only reason to insulate pipes. The insulation increases energy efficiency by reducing heat loss as your hot water travels through the pipes. Also, insulated pipes experience less of the condensation that causes them to deteriorate over time.

At Robuck Homes, we love helping our North Carolina neighbors keep their homes comfortable and safe.