Are you looking for ways to make your home a little more energy-efficient this winter? Or, perhaps you simply want to do whatever it takes to make sure your home is safe and as worry-free as possible throughout the winter. Either way, if you are ready to winterize your home, here are the five basic steps you need to take.
Step #1: Add Insulation to Your Attic
If you do not already have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic, you should spend a little money and add some insulation before winter rolls around. As a general rule of thumb, your attic needs more insulation if you can see the ceiling joists. When adding more insulation to existing insulation, however, you should not use insulation with a paper backing. If you do, the backing will act like a vapor barrier and will cause moisture problems to develop.
Step #2: Wrap Your Pipes
Wrapping your pipes will help prevent them from freezing, which is important because frozen pipes have a tendency to burst. Obviously, the last thing you want to deal with in the winter is a burst pipe spraying water everywhere. Any pipe that is not insulated or that runs through an unheated space, such as a basement, crawlspace or garage, should be wrapped with fiberglass insulation, a foam rubber sleeve or heating tape.
Step #3: Clean Your Gutters
Don’t wait until spring to clean out your gutters, as the thawing snow will need someplace to drain during the wintertime. If it doesn’t have anywhere to go, the water will back up, form ice dams and eventually cause water to seep into your house. So, once your leaves have fallen, clean out all of the debris and then rinse your gutters out with the hose. This way, everything will be able to flow without a problem.
Step #4: Check Your Furnace
You certainly don’t want your furnace to quit on you in the middle of winter, so you should test it before the cold weather hits. Ideally, you should have your furnace inspected and cleaned before you fire it up. This way, you can be sure it is in good shape and is ready to warm your home properly throughout the season.
Step #5: Put Up Storm Windows
Finally, you should take down your window screens and replace them with storm windows. This way, your windows will be more energy efficient. If you don’t already have storm windows, you should consider purchasing them – even if you only purchase one or two per year and slowly get them for all of your windows. In the meantime, you should purchase a window insulator kit and use it to add plastic sheeting to the inside of your windows. Although it may not be the most attractive look, it is highly effective at preventing energy loss and the sheets can be easily removed once winter is offer.