The time always comes, every year when those who live closer to the poles have to deal with the issues and challenges that winter brings. No need to fret about it, mother nature is not going to take away that season, whether or not you know how to winterize a house. Not now, not ever. So you can as well brace yourself and prepare your home for the freezing season. Winterizing a house should not be a great deal if you know exactly what to do. Many times it gets so snowy and cold, you wonder if you or your property will survive through it.
To make things worse, snow storms just seem to know the worst moments to set in, making winter safety tips a great necessity. Things could even get worse when there is power outage, or you are cut off from important services like health care, and schools because roads are extremely dangerous or impassable. At such times staying home is the wisest thing to do but the home too must have been prepared for the winter. You don’t need to remain in the dark as far as what you need to do to ensure your house will be safe in summer is concerned. Here are some important precautions and winter safe tips you can take to winterize a house.
Preparations for winter start in the fall by making necessary changes that serve for adequately winterizing a house. Making some changes around the compound and in the home before the first snowflake drops will go a long way to ensure that your home is warm enough and secure throughout the winter period.
Winter Safety Tips
Check the roof
Sometimes you could need a great deal of repairs on your roof which will go unnoticed throughout summer and the fall because they do not pose any real threat and you were not thinking of how to winterize a house either. So you need to check your own roof closely to make sure there are no gaps that will allow leaks. A missing shingle, cracks and breaks around the chimney could be a perfect receipt for disaster when winter fully sets in, worse of all in a snow storm. You can get on the roof yourself and make the necessary checks and fixes. If the issues are somehow too complicated for you to handle, or you don’t just fancy the idea of climbing on the roof, using a binocular to scan the roof for any damaged areas will be just the thing to do before you call in a technician to do his job.
Also remember that leafs or other tree parts which may have fallen are not very good to be around during winter, and certainly not on your roof. Leafs hold moisture and therefore will increase the weight on your roof during winter and may lead to cracks or worsen already existing ones. So check closely and rake off leafs from your roof before winter sets in. It is one of the most important of all winter safety tips.
Clear out the gutters around the house
The gutters around the house provide good space for snow and ice to settle and should act as a passage when it begins to melt away. So you must clean out the gutter of dirt or fallen leaves to prevent ice dams that may result in water flooding into your home. Also check the foundation of your house to ensure that it is safe enough to stand up under the pressure that the season brings.
Aim at reducing cost of heating to minimal
The first thing to consider when winterizing a house is how you can keep heating and other expenses as low as possible. Some quick changes here and there will suffice, unless your home really has serious maintenance issues to be rectified. Whatever the case you can start by making the following necessary changes or upgrades.
Prepare to reduce utilities expenses next winter by using more warm clothing, socks and blankets to feel warm – naturally – than just turning up the heat whenever you feel too cold. Also place warm materials like rugs on the floor to reduce cold.
Next make sure you are only heating rooms that are being used at a particular time. Close off ventilations in guest rooms and storage rooms that you don’t use so that the air can be channeled and used only where it is needed.
Be prepared to act smart with the air that is circulating in your home. Before you are faced with winter days, make sure you have a humidifier in your home. The reason is simple, moist air is a better companion in days like this and more efficient in preserving heat because it feels warmer and better holds the heat coming from your fireplace and heater.
Get your winter wear ready or get new ones now
Moving from very warm weather conditions to an extremely cold one makes it easy to forget to adequately prepare for the latter. Now that it is still easy to move around and check in the stores for what will suit you, don’t relax and wait to be reminded by the cold.
Check up what you like wearing and get it. It will definitely be cheaper and easier to get something fashionable if you are wise enough to buy way before the first snow flake falls. In case you have enough winter wears already, it is time to get them out and make sure they are clean and ready for use.
Use a better thermostat
While you are home, you could let it run as warm as comfortable but be sure to turn it down 10 to 15 degrees when you are not home. It is not just one of those important winter safety tips but also necessary for saving power. If you can do that for about 8 hours a day, you will save 10% of your previous heating cost each year. You could also set a programmable thermostat so you can forget about having to do the job regulating it yourself.
In addition to the above measures for winterizing a house, turn on the reverse switch of your ceiling fan if it has one. Hot air normally rises and when the fan turns clockwise, it will create an updraft that will force heated air to move lower which would otherwise have settled nearer to the ceiling down the room. This will help you turn down the thermostat a few degrees and save energy cost.
Be wise with your fireplace
If you cannot adequately prepare your fireplace for winter, not only do you stand the risk of having to wait days before your turn for repairs during the coldest period of the year, your heating bills may skyrocket to unbelievable amounts. Pile up as much wood as possible to prevent sudden shortage. It is best you also split the wood to useable sizes well ahead of time and keep them dry and warm.
Get someone to check your fireplace to make sure it is good enough to face the winter and more importantly a snow storm. Check for and seal up holes or cracks that could lead to loss of heat. Also make sure the chimney is cleared and ready to do its job. Cleaning the chimney is important to prevent fires and related incidents which may result from forgotten dirt in the chimney.
Checking to make sure your windows have no holes or spaces that will allow heat loss and infiltration of cold air is another good step and one of the several winter safety tips to consider in preparing your home for the coldest period of the year. Sealing windows and other vents will help you save energy and reduce heating cost. Use some firm plastic to seal windows by preparing a separate frame with it or just tape the plastic around your window frame.
Cut off dangerous tree branches
When it begins to snow, some tree branches will hold a large amount of snow, become too heavy and eventually have to fall off. Imagine having a good seized branch falling on your roof or that of your neighbor. Winter is the worst time of the year to be faced with such issues. Cut off those tree branches that hang over your roof or that of your neighbor.
Drain water from pipes to protect them
As already stated, winter is not a good time for repairs. In fact, it is the worse time of the year. You don’t want to be one of those needing a plumber to work on your water supply system in such freezing conditions. When water remains undrained in pipes and gets frozen, the resulting pressure may cause the pipe to break. A good way to start out with clearing pipes will be to disconnect garden hoses and drain out water from faucets.
Take special note of pipes which are relatively exposed to the freezing temperatures outside. Basement pipes and those close to house walls. Let warm air circulate in cabinets or below the sink where you have pipes so that the possibility of water freezing in them is reduced.
Take advantage of Decorations and create space for other activities
Winter house decoration should have a unique style that makes the house more comfortable during winter and serves the purpose of winter safety tips. Your window blinds for example should be made of thicker cotton material to keep the house warm. In winterizing a house, arrange your furniture such that they do not stand in the way of proper warmth and air circulator. For example, place sofas some distance away from the fireplace so that heat can circulate freely.
During this season, you can hardly move out to the gym or other recreational facilities and such activities may be very important to you. If that is the case, make sure you create some space in the house where you can do some workouts and stretch a little. Things could become boring if such activities cannot be carried out throughout winter.
You will also need to create space for special wears like the thick jackets and the snow boots. Just some extra room where these can be kept so that they don’t get the other clothes and shoes you wear within the house cold too or drip off water in your bedroom.
Keeping Rodents away
They are faced with the cold weather too and need a warm place to stay through winter. But you certainly don’t want your home to be the winter motel for rats so check and seal off holes that will give them freeway into your home. Clean tunnels and crawl ways of food particles and dirt to reduce the chances of them choosing your home for the season.
Prepare for better lighting
The low natural light supply during this period means your bulbs have to be on longer and shine brighter. But since most of us are too concerned about increasing bills, and for a good reason, buying more energy efficient bulbs before winter is as important as other winter safety tips. Replace those high consumption incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs which are known to run on 75% less energy and are sure to last much longer. In any case, you still need to make sure you turn off those bulbs before going to bed or leaving the house so that they do not consume any more energy than they need to.
Get Emergency supplies
In case of an accident or an emergency, especially during a winter storm, you don’t want to be lacking first aid materials to remedy the situation or some important tools. Here are some tools you might want to get before winter sets in. you should tick off the ones you already have and make sure you buy those you don’t have before you get embarrassed by the need.
Batteries and flashlights
When things go south and you desperately need to find your way around your own house or to get instruments because of power outage, you cannot afford to be in want of a flashlight. Get a good one, they are quite cheap these days. But what could be more frustrating for you than having no flashlight at such a moment is realizing that though you were careful enough to make sure you secured a flash light, you were forgetful enough to miss the need for batteries. So make sure you get good and lasting batteries for your touch or better still get two sets of rechargeable batteries. You will be delighted you did when you cannot get power for more than six hours during any winter night.
Car phone charger
Having an accident or emergency at home and you can’t move an inch from home because of the snow? Worse still at just the moment you think of calling for help you get to realize that your phone battery is almost dead. Not good. Emergency or not, no one wants to stay out of communication for any reason. When you have power outage, your car may be the only other option as far as charging your phone is concerned. If by chance you do not have a car phone charger, you will be sorry you did not remember or ignored getting one before that moment. Get one before you need it so badly and cannot have it.
Salt and Sand
Salt and sand are some of the most important items to have in abundant supply during winter and more specifically during a winter storm. You may need to reduce ice or snow on your driveway before it is passable with the car. While you think of how to winterize a house, make sure you get enough salt and sand at home and some in the car to take along when driving. Salt reduces the freezing point of water and makes the process of melting easier. When salt is thrown on ice or snow, it begins to melt the snow. The snow dissolves the salt further and the more the salt dissolve the more it can help reduce snow and ice.
Buy a home generator (if you can afford it)
A home generator could be the best thing you ever bought when it comes to power supply substitutes especially because it will take care of every electrical power need and is the best substitute for normal electricity supply at the time and season. With it, you can maintain your heating system, light, and power every other electrical device. It is extra cost but if you have the money to spend, it is a wise investment.
Ever had too much snow on your roof or drive way and wondered how you can even begin to deal with it? You need a snow shovel ready before winter. It is also a great travel companion for the season needed to clear off drive ways and roads of excess snow or ice that make roads impassable. You will be glad you bought one.
Water proof floor mats
Getting water proof floor mats are necessary because you may have water flood into the house and they will surely help keep water from getting to other items in case there is a flood.
When you cannot readily get food supplies, canned stuff will be the best alternative for tasty meals. This is even more important when you are trapped in the house for one reason or the other. Whenever you go out grocery shopping, make sure you get enough canned food to last a month or two. Also do well to preserve them properly. Keep canned food on the shelf closer to the walls so that they remain cool and fresh.
First aid kit
If you don’t normally keep a first aid kit in the house, try doing so as you prepare for winter. Make sure you have all items necessary to handle minor injuries and treat simple illnesses. For those who may have shoved the first aid kit away, pull it out and check the contents to make sure all what you will need is available or else get it from the stores.
Battery powered radio
Most, if not all the information you will need to get timely, especially concerning weather conditions will be transmitted over the radio. We all know having a radio is not very fashionable these day, and who needs one anyway when you can have it on your cell phone? Well, even if you have a radio app, you still need one which the whole family can listen to. Let your phone serve for your convenience. Don’t just own one, listen to weather updates very frequently. Do not forget to get batteries for the radio because you may need to listen to it most when power is out because of bad weather.
Know What to do in case there’s a snow storm
One of the greatest concerns as far as winter is concerned is the famous “winter storm”. You can always expect one at the heart of winter and they could sometimes be very dangerous or even deadly. Knowing how to winterize a house and understanding what you should do in case you are faced with a winter storm is very important for safety and survival. So here are some things you should do when you begin to get the warnings on radio. Usually they occur between early autumn to late in spring and vary depending on geographical region. It is better to plan for your home against a snowstorm before winter. Here are some things you can do to prepare your home against a winter storm.
- Ensure that your home is well insulated by taking precautions to keep warm air from escaping from the house.
- Keep a functional carbon monoxide detector handy.
- If you do not already know, learn how to deal with pipe breakage issues. Learn how water valves are shut off.
- Use storm windows if you can. Otherwise use plastic or other impenetrable material to seal windows and keep cold air out of the home.
- Get a contractor to check how firm and ready your roof is to withstand unusual downpour and accumulation of snow, ice or water.
- Make sure you have enough wood stored up for the fire place.
- Create a household evacuation plan in case there is a snow storm.
- Stay informed about what is happening in your community.
The summary on how to winterize a house understanding exactly what you need to do and doing it way ahead of time.