Tips, Trends & Living December 5, 2012

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

As winter approaches and temperatures start dropping, will you be warm and snug in your house? Is the outside of your home ready to face cool temps and windchill?

Now is a great time to winterize your home…while the weather is still mild, take some time to complete winter basic maintenance; you'll be glad you did when the freezing temps of January hit. Also, putting together a winter action plan for inside your home will help. Your time and money are important; doing a little now will save you both in the long run.

Here’s a list of things to check on the outside of your home:

  • Outdoor faucets: detach those hoses from the faucet. Insulate the faucet with a styrofoam cover.  During extended cold, turn off the water running to the outdoor faucet.
  • Gutters: make sure they are free of debris.  Ice can form when water collects in plugged gutters, a situation which can create the potential for water seepage into your home.  While checking out the gutters, see if water draining out of the downspout is flowing away from the house’s foundation.
  • A/C Lines:  make sure the lines are drained if you have an a/c unit. If the air conditioner has a water shut off valve , it’s a good idea  to turn it off for the winter.
  • Check for Air Leaks: look in those areas where two different materials meet.  Inside your home, carefully carry a lit incense stick around potentially leaky spots (electrical outlets, door and window frames, recessed lighting, cable entries). You’ll see the smoke being moved by any drafts present. You and a friend can also try out a hair dryer test. The person outside operates the hair dryer around the window frame. The person inside holds carefully a lit candle. If the flame flickers, the window frame needs caulking or weatherstripping around it.

Strategies to use indoors to stay warm:

  • Ceiling fans: reverse the direction the fan turns to push warm air down away from the ceiling.
  • Electrical Outlets: Add foam insulation gaskets around the outlet and use outlet covers when not in use.
  • Exterior doors: add doorsweeps to each exterior door and use draft stoppers.
  • Furnace:  change the filter.  Have the furnace serviced regularly.  Make sure registers are open and not covered by furniture, drapes or loose carpeting.
  • Fireplaces: keep the damper closed when not in use.  Remember to open the damper before building a fire. Have your chimney inspected—  it may need to be swept by a chimney sweep.

Don’t forget that extra layers go a long way.  Putting on a long sleeve, light-weight sweater adds about two degrees of warmth to our bodies.  Throw on a heavier sweater and receive a 4 degree warmth bonus.



Photo courtesy of