How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

A house covered with snow.

Most people postpone preparing their homes for winter until they actually see the snow. Some people do not prepare it even then. However, making sure your home is in good condition before winter comes is extremely important. Just think about it – if there is something wrong with your heating system, wouldn’t it be better for you to realize it now before the temperature becomes unbearably cold? Thus, do not wait. Inspect your home thoroughly and prepare it for winter! If you are not sure how to do this, do not worry. We designed a list of the most important things to do to ensure your home is ready for the upcoming winter months. So, If you want to know how to prepare your home for winter, keep on reading. 

Insulate the Pipes 

Do you have any exposed pipes running along your exterior walls? If you do, you have to insulate them as soon as possible. Uninsulated pipes are a potential hazard! When the winter months come, and the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or below 0 degrees Celsius), the water inside the exterior pipes can freeze and cause the pipes to burst. Thus, do not postpone plumbing checks and repairs. Once the winter comes, both checking and repairing will be twice as hard. 

If you checked the pipes, and if everything seems in order, all you have to do to prepare them for winter is insulate them. You can get pipe insulation at the hardware store – it looks like a giant spaghetti. These enormous pieces of spaghetti are easy to install and do not cost much, and most importantly, they can save your pipes. 

Pipes, representing how to prepare your home for winter.
Think about your pipes before the winter comes!

Think about your pipes before the winter comes!

Clean the Gutters 

After you have finished checking the exterior pipes, go ahead and check the gutters. If they are full of leaves and other debris (branches, dirt, etc.), they can freeze and become a big frozen mess that can get under the shingles and damage the roof. And, we do not have to tell you how expensive and time-consuming repairing the roof can be. 

Luckily, preventing this from happening is easy. All you have to do is get some tall leader, put on thick gloves, and climb up to the roof (or to your gutters). Make sure you scoop everything, including dirt. And, if you want to speed things up, you can always use a leaf blower. But, if you are not comfortable doing this because of heights or some other reason, better hire a handyman or have a neighbor or friend help you out. 

Clean the Fireplace 

A lot of households use some kind of wood-burning fireplace. If you use it too, it would be wise to have it thoroughly cleaned and checked. For this, of course, you need a certified chimney sweep. Do not try to cut corners on this one – a malfunctioning fireplace can cost you your life! Only an experienced professional can see whether your fireplace is in good shape or not. 

Most processes of cleaning the fireplace include removing the build-up of creosote and soot. But, if the fireplace is in bad condition, this clean-up and repair may take some time and a lot of money. If that happens during the winter, you may have to renovate and even move out temporarily. You will have to decide where to stay, as your cold home will not be an option. So, if you want to avoid this hassle, check and clean your fireplace now.

Two people warming their hands on the fireplace.
Caption: To prepare your home for winter, you must check your fireplace.

Check the Furnace 

If you do not use the previously mentioned fireplace to heat your home, you probably use a furnace. It too must be checked every once in a while – experts say that once in three years is enough. Thus, if you haven’t had a professional check your furnace recently, you know what to do. Call an HVAC contractor to check your furnace as well as all the boilers you have around your home. 

An HVAC contractor will also check all the burners, sensors, filters, contacts, etc. That is, they will make sure your furnace is safe for use. Moreover, it would be wise for you to check the filters every month. You do not need a professional for this. All you have to do is check whether the filter turned black or brown. If it did, replace it. 

Drain Sprinklers 

Similar to outdoor pipes, sprinklers too can freeze and burst during winter months. To prevent this from happening, you need to drain any leftover water inside them. A professional irrigation contractor can help you with this process. However, if you want to do this yourself – nobody is stopping you. Just make sure you know what you are doing. Read your sprinklers manual or call their manufacturer. In most cases, all you have to do is turn off the water source, open the drain valves and blow out the air using a compressor. 

If you, however, do not own the compressor, doing this job all by yourself will be a nightmare. No matter how hard you try to remove the water from the sprinklers’ system, it will be impossible without a compressor. So, either hire a professional or find somebody willing to rent/lend you their compressor. 

If you want to use your sprinklers next summer, better drain them this winter

Prevent Door Locks from Freezing 

When it comes to preparing your home for winter, of course, arranging all those heating and piping services is the most important. But, that does not mean you should forget about little tasks such as checking your door locks. If you live somewhere where winters are harsh, you know how annoying frozen door locks are. To unfreeze them, you either have to wait for the temperature to rise a bit or bring out your hairdryer. 

However, there is an easier way out. You can buy the so-called powdered-graphite lubricant in a hardware store. Spray it on each door lock you have in your home. This powder will lubricate all the pins inside the lock, so they do not stick together once the temperature lowers. 

Now you know what you must do to prepare your home for winter. Don’t postpone it! Get to work before the temperatures drop because they will. Very soon.