Winterize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps

With winter fast approaching, you'll want to make sure you've taken some critical steps to keep your house warm and safe through the colder months. Here are seven simple things you should do now to ensure your house survives winter weather in fine form.

Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning Gutters

It's never a fun task, but cleaning your gutters is one of the most important things you can do to get ready for winter. Gutters that are full of leaves and other debris trap water from rain and snow melt. Then, when the temperatures drop that water turns into ice, which can cause the gutters to pull away from the house and create overhead hazards.

Trim Dead Limbs

Pruning Trees

When ice storms hit, trees branches encased with ice become extremely heavy. If those branches are dead or dying, there's a good chance they'll rip away from the tree and plummet to the ground causing damage to anything beneath—like your home or car. To avoid the danger, trim dead branches well before winter weather arrives.

Get Your Furnace Serviced

Furnace Maintenance

Your furnace is the very heart of a comfortable winter. So treat it well by calling a pro to conduct an annual check-up to make sure it stays strong all season long. Your contractor will clean the furnace to remove dust that could hamper its function, replace dirty filters, and ensure it's not venting harmful exhaust into your home.

Related: 9 Easy Ways to Troubleshoot Furnace Problems (Before Calling In the Pros) 

Seal Drafts

Weatherstripping for Winter

Weatherstripping is probably the least expensive way to save the most amount of money this winter. For doors, install the strips on both the jam and door itself for the tightest fit and be sure a sweep is installed at the bottom. For windows, put foam or rubber stripping on the top and bottom edges and seal sides with removable strips.

Replace Missing Roof Shingles

Repair Roof Shingles

If there are any roof shingles that have gone AWOL, now is the time to replace them. Water that leaks through missing shingles are bad any time of the year, but they're especially problematic in the winter when water that enters your attic can freeze, cracking wood beams.

Drain Water Lines

Drain Water Lines

If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to turn off the water that feeds them and have the lines professionally blown out in order to avoid the possibility of cracked pipes as water turns to ice and expands. Also be sure to remove garden hoses and protect hose bibs with Styrofoam covers.

Cover Doors and Windows

Install a Storm Door

Installing a storm door can increase your home's energy efficiency by 45%, and storm windows similarly improve on drafty windows. Further, look into plastic sheet insulation; such products install in minutes, often tightening into position by means of a blow dryer. The ratio of effort to upside is very favorable.

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