Now that daylight savings time is over, signaling the onset of longer nights and colder weather, it's the perfect time to prepare your home for the coming winter.
Turn off exterior water valves and faucets. To prevent pipes from bursting and damaging your home, shut off your exterior water valves (typically found inside your home) and detach hoses and store them in a covered space. Don't forget to drain your hose bibbs completely before you turn them off for the winter.
Clean your gutters to protect against ice damming. Ice dams form when water in your gutters, trapped by leaves and debris, freezes. Dams force water down under your roof shingles and into your home, which can lead to mold and other problems.
Seal all windows and doors. Air leaks can create unwelcome drafts in your home and cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Keep warm air in and cold air out by caulking around windows and doors and adding or replacing the weather stripping in your window frames.
Check your furnace and air filters. Have your furnace inspected and cleaned to get rid of build-up, which can become a serious fire hazard. Don't forget to replace dirty filters to ensure proper air flow as you head into the winter months.
Adjust your dampers and ceiling fans. Because heat rises, you'll want to change your dampers to push more warm air to the bottom floors to evenly heat your home. If you don't have dampers, simply close the registers in the upper floors of your home. In addition, set your ceiling fans to turn clockwise. This will pull cold air up and force warm air down, helping to redistribute heat and potentially save on energy costs.
Flush your water heater. Draining water heaters is often an overlooked task—that is, until you're stuck with shampoo in your hair in an ice-cold shower. Water heaters should be flushed once a year to prevent sediment from building up in the bottom of the tank and causing heating problems.
After you've completed your winterization checklist, consider stocking up on these items for colder months and winter storms:
- Blankets and warm coats
- Flashlights or battery-powered lanterns
- Generator fuel
- Ice scraper and snow brush for your car
- Jugs of water
- Nonperishable foods
- Snow melt
- Snow shovels
Now that you're all set to face Jack Frost, cozy up by the fire and read more homeownership tips at MyHome by Freddie Mac®.