How to Winterize Your Home in a Weekend

Have you been putting off winterizing your home? Here are a few small-ish items that you can probably accomplish in a weekend that’ll save you money and give you peace of mind.

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Why Winterize Your House

It’s important to winterize your house each year because you’ll save on heating costs, prevent potential damage to your furnace, plumbing and roof. Plus, you can keep your house safe by preventing falls on ice or falling ice.

When to Winterize Your House

Winterizing your home is a process, but you should wrap up any outdoor work in the fall before it gets too cold and too dangerous to work outside. You should start checking your snow removal equipment as you put away your lawn care equipment. You can tackle the indoor projects last.

Home Winterization Checklist

  1. Furnace tune-up – This one’s easy. All you have to do is make a phone call to your HVAC professional and schedule a time for them to come out. An annual tune-up keeps your furnace running efficiently. If you’re handy, you can do some furnace maintenance yourself.
  2. Check your plumbing – Do you have any plumbing in a cold basement or unheated crawlspace? This might not be top-of-mind when you consider how to winterize your home, as it doesn’t directly relate to maintaining a warm and cozy space, but it is important as the temperature drops. Wrap these pipes with pipe insulation, including heat cable under the insulation to avoid frozen or burst pipes.
  3. Check for air leaks – If your house feels drafty, check the weather-stripping around doors. It might be time to replace it.
  4. Prevent ice dams – Making sure attic vents are clear and install heat cable on the roof to help keep ice dams from forming.
  5. Check your roofLoose or missing shingles invite roof leaks due to melting snow. This can be done with a quick visual inspection.
  6. Add insulation – An extra layer of insulation in attics or crawlspaces can pay huge dividends in energy savings.
  7. Clean guttersLeaves and debris in gutters and downspouts restricts the flow of water from melting snow. This leads to ice build-up in the gutters and eventually ice dams.
  8. Start up your snow blower – The first blizzard is not the time to make sure your snow blower is in good working order.
  9. Stock up on salt and sand – When thinking about how to winterize your home, consider the safety of the people who’ll be using your sidewalks. Be ready with salt or a DIY ice melting compound and sand for traction.

Other Home Winterizations

Don’t forget to winterize any of the things below if you have them at your home.

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Brad Holden
Brad Holden, an associate editor at The Family Handyman, has been building cabinets and furniture for 30 years. In that time, he has absorbed so many slivers and ingested so much sawdust that he's practically made of wood.