Prep your home for winter
The best time to get your home ready for winter is before the really cold days are upon us. There are things to do both indoors, like getting your fireplace chimney cleaned, and outdoors, like disconnecting and storing hoses, so choose a nice fall day for the outdoor work and see if you can get a friend or family member to help.
Prepping your home for winter includes a few things that pay off right away, such as a new filter for your furnace or a new heat pump. There are a few other things you can do, starting with some seasonal outdoor work.
Things to do outside
- Clean the gutters: It’s the time of year that dead leaves are clogging your gutters. When water backs up because it can’t drain properly, it can damage your roof and eaves. Remember, dry leaves are much easier to deal with than wet ones.
- Shut off the outside water: Disconnect hoses from your outside faucets, drain them and store them away. Put weatherproof and insulated covers over your faucets.
- Unheated basement: You can wrap your pipes in insulating tape or cover them with straight sections of the foam tubing that looks like pool noodles.
- Exposed beneath your home: Permanent insulation is the best long-term solution for bare pipes in crawl spaces beneath homes.
- Sheds and garages: Protect any unheated areas you have by draining all water pipes.
Things to do inside
If you have a chimney, this is the right time to see it’s cleaned of accumulated soot. Check online listings for chimney sweeps and do it early enough to avoid the holiday rush. If you don’t plan on building fires this winter, make sure you block the chimney with something that keeps out cold air, moisture and debris.
Weatherproofing strips are made to seal around the edges of your windows. They are tapes made of flexible plastic with adhesive backing. Caulk and foam are used to fill in cracks and gaps that let cold air in around windows. Caulk hardens like glue and foam expands upon application to fill all open areas.
Each time we open an exterior door in the winter, heated air escapes and cold air gets in. We can seal the cracks around doors and block the gaps beneath them.
Beneath the door
This is where the biggest gap exists on most doors and why there are so many products made for keeping out the cold:
- Weather stripping: This is the simplest, least expensive method. You set the rubber strip so it touches the floor and press it to the bottom of your door on the inside. Look for the bottom of the strip to be flexible enough to maintain contact with the floor while also sturdy enough to do it for years.
- Draft stoppers: All are made to attach to your door and block the entire bottom gap. Most are weighted fabric tubes shaped like pool noodles. Draft stoppers attach to the door and slide along with it as it opens and closes.
- Under-door draft stoppers: These are also made in long fabric tubes but two of them are attached by a strip of fabric that connects them under the door and block the gaps on both sides.
- Sliding door draft blockers: These don’t attach to the doors, but are made to be placed by hand. They come in pairs. The long tube blocks the floor gaps across both sliding doors and the short one fits in the gap between the two channels.
What you need to buy for winterizing your home
The aluminum pole has four telescoping tubes that expand to 65 inches so you can work without a ladder. The special angled brush is made of hard nylon bristles and the entire tool weighs less than a pound.
You can forget climbing and moving ladders when you extend the reach of your leaf blower so you can blow debris out of your gutters while standing safely on the ground.
Wrap these waterproof fabric pouches around your outdoor faucets, then secure them with the hook and loop closures. The cotton insulation keeps your faucets from freezing and the covers are reusable for years to come.
Sealing the door gaps
Products made to block drafts are as useful for interior doors as they are for your front and back doors, because drafts are chillier in the winter when we keep the thermostat lower to save energy. Some draft-stopping methods block sound and light, too.
The 6-foot-long gravel-filled tube blocks the bottom gaps of sliding doors to the patio or outdoors, while the 3-foot-long piece fills the doorstop gap between the sliders.
This flexible foam and fabric strip is made for heavy use, with strong adhesives and hook and loop attachment pads. You can use it to close gaps of up to 1.3 inches.
This may be the year you’re ready for a smart thermostat that saves you money by wasting less energy.
With this thermostat, you track and manage your heating and cooling energy use with the Alexa app. You can let Alexa do the programming for you or you can do it yourself remotely.
This smart thermostat learns your schedule and the temperatures you like so it can program itself to keep you comfortable while saving energy. It knows when you’re away and adjusts itself so you don’t waste energy heating and cooling an empty home.
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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