Winter is here and that means it’s time to think about winterizing your home. North Carolina has many diverse landscapes. While those near the coast may not see much snow, those in the mountains surely can. Most winterizing tasks you can do yourself, though you may need the help of a professional for some.
Winterizing help to keep your home warm and protect it from damage during those colder months. Check out these tips to keep your house safe and save a little money on your heating bill.
When to Winterize
Weather trends can give you a good idea of when to expect colder weather but, in general, it’s best to winterize before the first snow or ice storm. For North Carolinians this could be from late November to mid-December.
Outdoor Winterization Tips
The following tips can protect the exterior of your house during the winter weather season:
- Clean the gutters. Ice buildup can clog your gutters and make them so heavy they fall off. Grab a ladder and some gardening gloves to clean the leaves out.
- Check siding for cracks and gaps. Fill any gaps in your home’s exterior with caulk to help keep it well insulated.
- Take out window AC units. You obviously don’t need them in the winter.
- Prepare your air conditioner condenser. If you have central cooling, you’ll need to get your condenser (that’s the big air conditioning unit outside your house) ready for cold weather. Remove sticks, leaves, or debris that have built up around the unit and purchase an AC cover to place over the top.
- Trim tree limbs. Ice and snow can weigh down tree limbs and make them fall, which could damage your house, fence, or car. If you have the tools and some experience you can trim tree limbs yourself, but this may be one of the things you consider hiring a professional to do.
- Drain your hose pipes. These can freeze if you’re not careful. If you don’t have frost proof pipes, turn off the valve inside your house that sends water to your spigot and then turn the spigot on to let the excess water run out.
- Store outdoor furniture. Leaving it out all winter can cause it to get wet and dirty and deteriorate faster.
Indoor Winterization Tips
Once you’ve got the outside of the house all ready to go, it’s time to focus on the inside:
- Flush your water heater. Open the drain valve located near the bottom of your water heater to let sediment run out and keep it functioning optimally.
- Change your ceiling fan direction from counterclockwise to clockwise. This redistributes heat by pushing hot air down to the floor. All it takes is flipping the switch located on your fan’s base.
- Replace air filters. Dirty air filters make it harder for air to flow efficiently and can decrease the air quality in your house.
- Clean baseboard heaters and vents. Do this before you switch them on for the first time to avoid that nasty, burnt dust smell.
- Install window insulation film. It’s inexpensive and can keep up to 70% more heat in.
- Purchase weather-stripping tape. This can be installed around doors and windows to seal small cracks and keep warm air in.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. You can use it to lower the heat in your home when nobody is there. Many of them can be controlled remotely with your phone.
- Get a chimney balloon. If you have a chimney that you don’t use, a chimney balloon can seal the top and keep cold air from getting in.
- Swap screens for storm windows. They provide an extra layer of insulation and stand up better to the harsh winter wind.
- Lower the temp on your water heater. Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees by default, but 120 degrees is still plenty warm enough. Turn it down and you could save 6-10 percent on your energy bill.
- Check carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they are still working properly. Your insulation efforts will keep you warm but they can also keep toxic gas trapped inside your house.
Winterizing your own home is smart and easy. We hope these simple tips are helpful to you and your family and will help you keep your home safe, warm, and cozy all winter long.