The holiday season is officially upon us! Which, for everyone not living on the West Coast (sorry—don’t hate me!) means freezing temperatures and stress around winterizing your home. Although I’m no longer living in the frigid Midwest, I still empathize with everyone struggling to stay warm and safe this season (without paying through the nose for expensive services).
Regardless of whether you live in the heart of the Windy City as I did for the first twenty-four years of my life, or another chilly state, here are some DIY tips to help you get your home ready for the upcoming months.
To Prep The Outside:
1. Remove leaves and debris from the gutters. According to Jack White, vice president of technical services at Rainbow International, getting rid of any debris from your drains, gutters, and other outdoor areas will make sure that your downspouts carry water away from your home instead of clogging up and potentially freezing.
2. Cut branches around your roof. With any heavy snowfall, branches that collect snow can get heavy, fall, and damage your home. Be sure to cut anything that might hang over your house.
3. Insulate and fill cracks. Winterizing insulation helps to keep heaters from working overtime and is especially smart in an attic where heat rises. Although it might be a bit pricy to add insulation, it’s better for you in the long run. Be sure to fill in any cracks in your floors or foundations, too, to keep warm air in.
To Keep Pipes From Freezing:
1. Trickle a bit of cold water to keep pipes from freezing. According to Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a little drip of cold water through your faucet will keep the water moving and prevent freezing.
2. Drain out the sprinkler system. Before the freezing temperatures hit, drain and store all of your hoses and external water spigot. You’ll also want to make sure that the faucets and hoses outside of your home aren’t leaking. If anything is dripping or leaking, be sure to make repairs before temps drop too low.
3. Insulate your home pipes. Cover any exposed pipes with insulation or thick towels to prevent freezing.
4. Use a space heater to thaw any potential freezes. If you’re worried a pipe may have frozen (and not yet burst), use a space heater, hairdryer, or heating pad to warm the pipe.
5. Locate and familiarize yourself with the shut-off valve. As the temperatures drop, you’ll want to know exactly where your water shut-off valve is in case of an emergency.
To Lower Your Water Heater Expenses:
1. Maintain your heater’s temperature. To help your heater work at it’s best, set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Flush out any and all sediment. Sediment causes corrosion in your water heater, which lowers its overall lifespan. To prolong your heater’s effectiveness, be sure to flush it out before it gets too cold.
3. Test the pressure valve. If your heater’s valve is working properly, when you lift the lever and let it snap back, you should get a burst of hot water. If you don’t, something’s not working right and you’ll probably need to contact a plumber.
To Prep Your Inside:
1. Winterize any of your outdoor appliances. According to Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, any appliances that you store outside should be prepped for the cold temperatures. You can use anti-freeze for things like outdoor dishwashers or washing machines. Turning off appliances you don’t use frequently is smart, too. Then drain out all pipes, of course!
2. Store your air conditioner(s). If you use a window unit during warmer months, remove, clean all vents and filter, cover it, and put it in a garage or other storage area.
3. Clean your fireplace or chimney before using it. If you’re going to use your fireplace/chimney, be sure to clean it first! There may be snow, soot, animal nests, or other debris that can potentially cause a fire if you’re not careful.
3. Add humidity to regulate your home’s temperature. With the colder temps, upping the indoor humidity can help to prevent frost and even help your loved ones from catching colds or feeling dry and chapped.
4. Be smart about your thermostat. Sometimes the smallest change can make a big difference in your indoor temperature. When it comes to setting the temp in your home, try to regulate it with an automated thermostat system, or by only shifting a degree at a time to save energy and overall cost.
5. Get foam tape to help insulate. An easy way to insulate your home (especially doors and baseboards) is to get cheap foam tape. As a cheaper weather-proofing alternative, the tape can be measured and cut to precisely fit your desired space.
6. Make your own door snake to keep the cold from getting in. You can make your own door snake by rolling and tying old towels together to keep the cold draft from coming in. If you’re feeling lazy, though, you can buy this cheap snake on Amazon. There’s even this cute unicorn one for kids, too!
7. Use insulated curtains to keep your rooms warm. Insulated curtains are money-savers when it comes to retaining heat indoors. Just be sure to keep them closed as much as possible!
Any other tips for winterizing your home?
Feel free to comment them below!
For other mom hacks and tips, click here.
Featured Image Credit: TONL