Q: What steps do I need to take to prepare my home for the cold weather?
A: Keep your home warm and safe this winter by following our comprehensive to-do list before the real cold sets in.
1. Seal your home
Give your home a quick run-through, checking for drafts. You can do this by holding a lit candle near the following areas:
- Vents and fans
- Plumbing areas
- Air conditioners
- Mail chutes
- Electrical and gas lines
If the candle flickers, you’ve got a draft.
Seal up all holes and reinforce existing points of entry with weather stripping. You can also caulk windows and doors to make sure they’re truly sealed against the cold.
2. Clean your gutters
If your gutters are clogged with sodden leaves, they can freeze up and block the drainage, allowing melting ice and snow to slowly seep into your roof and cause excessive damage.
3. Invest in a roof rake
If you live in an area that sees lots of snow each winter, your roof can be sitting under several feet of snow for weeks at a time. All of that snow can cause your roof to collapse. Invest in a roof rake that will help you clear the snow off your roof when it really starts piling up.
4. Reverse your ceiling fans
Flick the reverse switch on your ceiling fans to make the blades spin in a clockwise direction instead of counterclockwise. This way, the fans will produce an updraft to push the rising hot air downward.
5. Prune your trees
Check all trees near your home’s façade for low-hanging or loose branches. Prune them so they don’t end up cracking from heavy snow or wind and causing damage to your home.
6. Take inventory of your emergency supplies
Stock up on water, canned food, batteries, flashlights and storm lanterns. You may also want to invest in an external charger for some juice when the lights go out.
7. Turn off external faucets
Unscrew your garden hose from the spigot and drain your sprinkler system to prevent any freezing. You may need to call in a professional in order to do this properly.
8. Protect your pipes from freezing
Prevent burst pipes, and avoid costly repairs, with these simple steps:
- Keep your heat on even when you’re not home so that your pipes don’t freeze and burst.
- Allow your faucets to drip during severe cold snaps.
- Wrap any exposed piping and hose bibs to prevent freezing.
9. Check your heating system
Crank up the heat before the cold blows in to ensure everything is in working order. If anything needs repairs, tend to it now while it’s still warm out.