Before the snow starts falling, it is essential to begin winterizing your home to keep it secure and safe. Winterizing refers to the tasks you take toward preparing your home for winter. Proper preparation keeps the cold out and protects your home from damage due to harsh weather conditions – freezing rain, snow, and sleet.
An unprepared and poorly maintained home in Twin Cities, MN, can result in discomfort for your family and larger repair and utility bills. A comprehensive approach to winterizing your home touches on many aspects, including your roof, windows, attic insulation, HVAC system, plumbing, and lawn or yard preparation.
How to Winterize Your Home Checklist
1. Have Your Furnace Inspected and Ducts Cleaned
If you rely on a stand-alone furnace for your heating, have it inspected and maintained before winter starts. A well-maintained furnace performs more efficiently throughout the cold season – keeping you warm and lowering your heating expenses. In addition, clean the ducts and change the filters often (preferably every three months).
2. Clean and Cover Your Air Conditioning Unit
Clean your air conditioning unit and remove grime and build-up from its fins. After cleaning:
- Cover it using a breathable material.
- Put plywood over its top to shield it from ice and snow.
- Weigh it down using rocks or bricks to keep it in place.
Alternatively, you can install a wood shelter over the unit.
3. Check Your Heating System
Inspect your HVAC system by turning it on and seeing how well it works. Alternatively, you can have an HVAC technician inspect it before winter. You should regularly replace the filters every three months or sooner if you have pets, use a fireplace, or have a large family. You can use inexpensive fiberglass filters, UV filters, or upgrade to pleated or HEPA filters.
4. Move Furniture Away from Blocking Any Vents
Vents provide a necessary free flow of air in and out of your home. Therefore, it is unwise to block them with furniture because it could make your HVAC system run sub-optimally or damage it.
5. Reverse Ceiling Fans
Reversing your ceiling fans during winter creates a gentle updraft and recirculates heat down. To reverse your fans, use a switch to change the blades’ movement clockwise.
6. Block Air Leaks
Inspect your windows and doors for air leaks. To block air leaks, you can use weatherstripping, install new sweeps., use foam tape, apply foil stripping and rigid foam insulation, insulated curtains, or caulking.
7. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Ensure all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in top condition. Press and hold down the device’s test button for a few seconds until you hear two beeps, signifying it is in testing mode.
8. Seal Your Doors and Windows
Air Leaks through windows, doors, and other outlets to the exterior of your home account for a significant drain on energy costs. Have a professional inspect your windows to determine how old they are and whether they leak. Then, you can opt to replace them with energy-efficient windows or add an interior layer of shrink film (plastic) or use caulking to seal around the window. Take a similar approach for maintaining your doors.
9. Have Storm Doors and Windows Replaced, Updated, or Repaired
Inspect your storm doors and windows and have them repaired, replaced, or updated where necessary. Poorly insulated storm doors and windows can tax your home’s heating system and contribute to high energy bills.
10. Insulate Exposed Water Pipes
Insulate all exposed pipes throughout your home (especially in non-heated areas) to prevent freezing.
11. Trim Trees around Your Home
Maintain your trees and plants. Prune overhanging branches near your home and driveway.
12. Clean Your Gutters
Leaves can clog gutters and cause water to back up and freeze, creating ice dams. In addition, the added weight can damage your gutters or pull them out of position as more ice builds up. Make sure your gutters are clean before winter rolls around.
13. Check the State of Your Home’s Insulation
Check the insulation of your home to determine whether it warrants adding or blowing additional insulation on top. Check for and seal gaps and holes within your attic insulation to prevent air leakage. For crawl spaces, you can opt to insulate the perimeter wall or the underside of the floor.
14. Have Your Roof Inspected
Have a roofing contractor inspect your roofing system for missing shingles, granules, water leaks, and mold or mildew. If the roof is old and beaten up, the roofer can recommend a replacement.
While some of the tips on the above checklist are DIY projects, it is advisable to hire a professional to handle the specialized maintenance tasks such as insulation, roofing, HVAC system preparation, and plumbing. At Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows, we handle all roofing and exterior remodeling projects in Twin Cities, MN. We give homeowners in the area peace of mind by winterizing their roofs and home exterior. Contact us today for any roofing or exterior home service project you have.