16 Top Tips for Winterizing Your Home
By Monte Burch
With the beginning of fall weather comes that much dreaded annual chore—winterizing your home. Many of these chores are ignored, but a little time spent before the football season can be extremely important, not only in conserving fuel and money, but in effectively maintaining a comfortable and safe environment. Following are some tips that can help regardless of where you live. You might want to keep this sheet and check off the chores as you do them.
1. Have an HVAC professional inspect and make sure the furnace is working properly. If your furnace has old-fashioned sheet metal ductwork, replace with insulated ducts, including the plenum. Clean out all ducts and clean the registers, checking to make sure they work properly. Replace furnace filters, changing them once a month or more if needed. If you have an older thermostat you can often save money by installing a new programmable thermostat. If you use propane, make sure the tank is filled.
2. Check all doors and windows for cracks, openings, cracked or loose window panes. Replace old inefficient windows, or replace old storm windows with newer, more energy-efficient models. Caulk and weather strip to seal off all openings. Switch summer screens with storms.
3. Repair and winterize lawn and garden tools. If you have major small engine or lawnmower problems, have them fixed now rather than waiting for spring when all repair shops are busy. Sharpen or replace lawnmower blades. Drain the oil and replace along with the filter. Do any minor repairs. Again it’s often quicker and easier to get parts during the off season. Replace line in string trimmers ready for spring. Drain gas from lawnmowers, or add a fuel additive to all engines. Make sure the snow blower is working properly. Clean and sharpen all gardening equipment such as rakes, hoes, shovels, shears and so forth. Give wooden handles a coating of linseed oil.
4. Inspect the roof and replace any worn or damaged shingles. Inspect flashing and replace or reseal any problem areas.
5. Clean and inspect the gutters, make sure all downspouts are working. You may wish to add leaf guards to the guttering.
6. Inspect the exterior of the house for cracked, broken or loose siding. Replace or repair, again to keep out pests as well as to protect the construction from moisture. If residing, add a house wrap for even more protection.