Fall is here in North Carolina, which means the weather might get a bit chilly soon (or not…). Before winter gets here in a few months (or not…), it’s a good idea to start prepping your house for cold weather. With the right preparation, you can save money on energy bills, be prepared for potential winter storms, and prevent expensive repairs to your HVAC systems or water pipes. Follow these steps to winterize your house and stay cozy all winter.
How to Winterize Your House
Do some end-of-summer yard maintenance
No one misses their lawn mower during the off-season, but before you lock up your shed for the year, take a weekend to do some preventative maintenance around your yard. Trim away dead or oversized branches that could threaten your home during an ice storm, rake up the excess leaf mulch, and clean out your gutters to allow snow and ice to melt and drain away safely.
Get a snow day kit.
Snow days aren’t exactly the norm in North Carolina, but it never hurts to be prepared. Make sure you’re stocked up on road salt, snow shovels, and ice scrapers before the hardware stores run out. If you have a fireplace, make sure you’re well stocked on natural gas or extra firewood, and don’t forget the hot chocolate supply!
Check your house for drafts.
A drafty house will drive up your energy bills all winter as you struggle to keep your house warm. Windows, chimneys, and doorways are the most common areas to find drafts. One easy test is to light an incense stick and hold it in places where you suspect a draft. If the smoke is suddenly pushed or pulled, you’ve found a place where heat can escape.
Insulate your pipes.
Frozen pipes occur when temperatures drop sharply, often at night. These pipes can burst as they defrost, causing flooding, water damage, and thousands in plumbing repairs. Insulation foam is inexpensive and easy to install; check your local hardware store for pipe insulation.
Winterize your windows.
Even if your window is closed, you could still be losing heat through the glass. Hang curtains and install plastic window film to keep the heat from escaping your home.
Take your plants inside.
Potted plants and plants that don’t go dormant during the winter are at risk of turning to mush during even the slightest overnight freeze. Protect your plants by bringing them inside during the winter, and leave them near a window so they can stay happy all season long.
Get an HVAC tune-up.
Regular HVAC maintenance will increase the lifespan of your unit and save you money on your energy bills all year round. Make sure your heater is working efficiently by scheduling a tune-up.