What is in Winter

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What is in Winter
Winter means ice, snow, and cold temperatures.

What is in Winter

What is in winter is ice, snow, freezing rain, and cold temperatures that can greatly inconvenience our lives.  There is much we can do to prepare for winter in order to minimize that negative effects that winter brings.

Winter is also a time of sledding, ice skating, building snow men, making snow angels, and throwing those snowballs at each other.  It is also a time where we spend the vast majority of our time indoors.

We want to make sure that our homes are warm, snug, and safe through the long winter months.

We want to know that are doing all we can to winterize our domiciles so that when Spring finally comes around again we haven’t created new problems, and corresponding work and expenses.

If you live in a part of the country that experiences temperatures below freezing, it will be to your benefit to apply these simple steps.

I will list some ideas that you can do to prepare your home and property for the impending winter.  Some are obvious, and some you may not have thought of.

I will also make some recommendations of where you can find the parts and supplies you may need. In addition, if you don’t want to do the tasks yourself, I will make a suggestion as to where to go to find the best, local contractors.

Winter Home Prep Tips
What is in Winter
Prepping your home properly for winter is very important.

1. Keep your pipes from freezing  Many homes now have back flow valves in the pipes that lead to the outside hose bibbs.   Even if you do have this feature, it is still a good idea to bleed these pipes before the hard winter hits.

Find the pipes that lead to the exterior of your home.  Close the valve from inside your home that is on the pipe that leads to the exterior.

If there is no shut off valve on this pipe, shut off the water at the main shut off valve.  Then go outside and turn on the exterior faucets until the water stops dripping.  Shut the exterior faucet, and screw a cap on the threads of the hose bibb or faucet.

You can buy these caps at your local hardware store or home improvement center for a dollar or two.

Don’t forget to drain and roll up your garden hoses, and store them inside.

This easy bit of prevention can save you from the residual water in your pipes from freezing, and bursting as a result.  If this happens you are in for a hassle, and fairly large expense to have it fixed.

2. Check your insulation   Your attic insulation not only helps keep your home warmer during the cold months, but it also helps keep your home cool during the warmer months.

Make sure you go in your attic and inspect the insulation between the beams.  If you see gaps or low spots, add more insulation.

It is recommended that you have at least 12″ of insulation, or more if you live in a colder, northern location.   Experts say that an R value of R38 should be the norm to prevent leakage of cold or warm air.

3.  Change air filters   Clogged air filters in your furnace can cause it to run longer and harder, increasing your energy bills, and shortening the usable life of it’s fans and blowers.

Simply replacing the inexpensive filters will allow the air to flow faster and cleaner, and more efficiently, saving you money in both the short run, and the long run.

What is in Winter
Windows should be checked for gaps, and air leaks.

4. Check windows for air leaks  Gaps in windows can often be a cause of higher heating bills, and a less comfortable interior of the home.

Check for these gaps both on the exterior, and the interior of the windows.  Inspect the surrounding areas of the windows.  If you detect gaps or drafts, apply a line of caulk or weather sealing tape to  these points.

On  the interior of the home, you can find drafts by holding a lit candle around the outside of the windows.  If the flame flows toward the window, you have located a draft.  Apply caulk or weather tape to these areas.

If your windows are older, and you find yourself adding large amounts of caulk or tape, you may want to consider purchasing new
windows.

Today’s newer windows are much more energy efficient, and you may be able to pay for them in a few years with the savings you will realize on your energy bills.

5. Clean your gutters and downspouts  During the fall months is when you get the most accumulation and build up from leaves, sticks, dirt, and other debris in your gutters and downspouts.

These clogs and layers can cause leaks to your roof, and to the outside and inside of your home.  Cleaning your gutters and downspouts regularly can save you some serious money, as well as a  major inconvenience.

Paying for some jobs just makes sense. I believe this is the case for gutter cleaning.  Climbing ladders to clean your gutters can be a risky endeavor.

Many people are seriously injured every year when attempting this dangerous job as a do it yourselfer.  A pro will remove everything from your roof, gutters, and downspouts.

This job is normally in the $100-$200 range.  You can get the job done right, and in less time if you hire a contractor to help you here.

What is in Winter
A Smart thermostat can save you money, and keep you comfortable.

6. Install a Smart Thermostat system   Smart thermostats are now replacing programmable thermostats in new homes, and in many existing homes.

These remarkable devices sense and adjust to what temperature you like when you are home, and when you are not home they alter the temperature to save you money.

It learns your schedule, and your temperature preferences, and automatically adjusts to the correct preferred temperature just before you come back in to your home.

No complicated programming is needed.  You only need to set the thermostat to your preferred temperatures for the first week, and from then on, the thermostat will adjust for you.

No more paying extra for forgetting to adjust the thermostat before you leave for work, or before you go to bed.  The Smart thermostat will adjust it for you.

7. Test your Fire/Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide detectors  Although this should be done 2 or 3 times during the year, it is especially important to check your fire/smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors prior to the cold months.

This is due to the fact that you will be inside a lot more than in the warmer months, and the house will be closed up more in the winter.

8. Clean and cover your BBQ Grill and A/C Unit  Make sure that the grill is clean and free of grease and other residue that could attract animals, and insects to make a home inside your BBQ grill.

If you use propane, be sure to disconnect the propane tank from the grill to eliminate the fire hazard.  Use a cover to put on the BBQ grill to protect it from the elements.

Be sure to also cover your air conditioning unit for the same reason.

9. Clean and cover your outdoor furniture  You will greatly increase the usable life and the enjoyment of your outdoor furniture if you clean it before the winter sets in.

Use warm, soapy water to clean it, let dry, and bring in whatever is removable from the furniture, such as cushions, pillows, mats, etc.

Be sure to cover tables, sofas, and chairs if you plan on leaving them outside through the cold months.

What is in Winter
Cleaning your blinds is a smart winter prep.

10.  Clean you interior window blinds  It is a good idea to clean your blinds in the Fall as they are likely quite dusty and dirty from having your windows open a lot in the prior several months.

This will keep the interior cleaner, and dust free for when the home is closed up, and the air quality is more easily compromised.

11.  Clean your wood burning fireplace  If you have a wood burning fireplace, and use it during the winter, the fall is a good time to clean and prep it.

Use a wire brush to clean the interior walls and the base of the fireplace.  Sweep up any residue, and vacuum and clean any screens and fireplace instruments and containers.

For a thorough job, you can hire a chimney sweep who will clean and prep your entire chimney and fireplace for you.

What is in Winter
The Home Depot has tools, supplies, and contractors to help you with winter prep.

Where to find tools and contractors  The best place  to shop for needed tools, parts, and other products for winter prep is the Home Depot.

You can shop online and pick up at your local store, or have your items delivered right to your door. With over 2500 stores throughout the US and Canada, you can be sure there is one near you.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

If you would like to hire a local, reputable, licensed, and bonded contractor to help you prepare your home for winter, I suggest using HomeAdvisor.

Click here to go to HomeAdvisor

What is in Winter – Conclusion

What is in winter is ice, snow, freezing rain, and cold temperatures that can greatly inconvenience our lives.  There is much we can do to prepare for winter in order to minimize that negative effects that winter brings.

We want to make sure that our homes are warm, snug, and safe through the long winter months.

What is in Winter
Good winter prep will allow a smooth transition into spring.

As a result, when Spring finally comes around again we haven’t created new problems, and additional work and expenses.

Some important winter prep tips are:
1. Close interior water valves and bleed and cap outside faucets
2. Check your insulation
3. Change air filters
4. Check windows for air leaks
5. Clean your gutters and downspouts
6. Install a Smart Thermostat system
7. Test your fire/smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
8. Clean  and cover your BBQ grill and A/C Unit
9. Clean and cover your outdoor furniture
10. Clean your interior window blinds
11. Clean your wood burning fireplace

The best place  to shop for needed tools, parts, and other products for winter prep is the Home Depot.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

If you would like to hire a local, reputable, licensed, and bonded contractor to help you prepare your home for winter, I suggest using HomeAdvisor.

Thank you for reading, What is in Winter. Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and suggestions below. I will respond to you directly.

Please also feel free to share on social media by using the buttons below.  Good luck with your winter prep.

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8 thoughts on “What is in Winter”

  1. As a homeowner is always good information on how keep things going well for winter. Especially those great ideas new ones and refresher on things I knew about. Thanks for the great check list.

  2. Awesome article, thank you!
    This is a very helpful checklist, I bookmarked it already 🙂

    I have a question about the smart thermostat system: I saw different opinions online and I’m not totally clear on this.
    I get a smart thermostat and keep it in one room. It will instruct the heating unit to keep a steady temperature in that room.
    Depending on the size of each room, location, furniture, etc,, other rooms in the house will get hotter or cooler. Seems I need to also get individual thermostats for the radiators. The problem I have is how many of these individual thermostats are safe to install so I don’t damage the central unit in case too many radiators are off and the main thermostat asks for more heat.

    Thank you,
    Alex

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