Cold as Ice: How to winterize your home

ice-kaleidoscope

Oh, the weather outside is frightful alright! And now is a great time to remember all the steps it takes to get the inside of your house delightful. We thought we’d post some good winterization tips to share with not only our fellow clerks, but also for our cities and districts so they could pass these tips along to their citizens.  After all, winterizing keeps you safe, efficient, green, and warm and prevents your home from being COLD AS ICE.

C – Clean Gutters. Clean and remove debris from gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Make sure downspouts take water away from the home’s foundation to prevent flooding.

O – Open Cabinets. If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time in the winter, remember these important tips: open cabinets to keep pipes warm, close foundation vents, cover vents with Styrofoam, shut off water supply line and drain pipes, insulate outdoor pipes, shut off and drain indoor water, turn off and drain water heater, turn thermostat no lower than 55 degrees, and empty pipes in the refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine.

L – Leak Control. Control drafty windows and doors by re-sealing them with caulking and weather stripping. Common culprits of heat loss are recessed lighting, window and door frames, and electrical outlets.

D – Drain. Drain out sprinklers, swimming pool and unused hot tub lines, and outdoor hoses. Leave valves open so excess water can expand and drain if necessary.  Keeping water in a pool itself can help prevent cracking, but follow the winterization instructions from the manufacturer or contractor. Finally, don’t forget to remove snow pack from hot tub covers on a regular basis.

A – Audit. Many utility companies offer free home energy audits which can help you pinpoint areas of heat escape and energy upgrades for making your home more energy efficient. You will be informed of ways to save on your energy bill through energy efficiency improvements as well as available tax credits in your area.

S – Seal Ducts. Sloppy duct work that is not well connected or insulated can lose up to 60 percent of a heater’s efficiency. You can inspect the ducts yourself, repairing pinches and gaps and insulating ducts that run through unheated places.  Also be sure to have your air ducts cleaned every few years and frequently change out your filters.

I – Insulate. Insulate any outdoor or exterior exposed pipes with sleeves, foam, or newspaper as part of your winterization routine. This is also a good idea in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and garages. Check and reseal any areas where these pipes enter the house to prevent heat escape.  In the future, you may want to consider insulating attics, basements, crawl spaces, and garages to help keep the overall temperature of your home up.

C – Chimneys. If you didn’t do so in the spring, now is the time to have your chimney swept and fireplace inspected as part of your winterization routine.  Wood stoves also need a good cleaning about once a year. Remember to close the damper on your chimney when not in use, and if you own a wood stove, keep the stove closed when not in use.

E – Empty and Insulate Water Pipes.  Emptying unused pipes is an important winterization task. For indoor pipes, you can keep cabinets open in cold weather to help heat get to the pipes.  In extreme temps, a drip of water moving through the pipes can also help prevent freezing.

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