Winterize a House

Your house is your castle - so keep it cozy!

Extreme winter weather can affect an entire region.
Being prepared will keep you and your family safe.

How to Winterize a House to Save Money and Be Prepared

  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic (or bubble wrap) from the inside to keep cold air out.

  • Winterize a House
  • Have your furnace and chimney cleaned and inspected every year. Seriously. Do this. Safety is so important.

  • Buy a basic caulk gun and a few tubes of caulk and fill in the gaps around windows, siding and doors. It costs very little and keeps wind from coming into the house.

  • Weatherstripping for windows is an option. It can be done around windows and doors. Foam weatherstipping at Home Depot is very inexpensive and, of course, you can buy upgraded products for more.

  • A door/threshhold sweep is also inexpensive and can keep the draft out, where it belongs.

  • Replace air filters. You should do this anyway, but this is a great time to check them. Safety first. Save money second.

  • Reverse your ceiling fans - or at least make sure they are set to the correct position - in case you didn't have them set correctly for summer. For winter, they should be moving in a clockwise direction.

  • Clean out your gutters. If water builds up, it can stay in the gutters potentially causing damage to your house. Additionally, if water runs over, it could spill onto your walkway, freeze, and cause major safety issues.

Taking these important steps to winterize your home should take precedence over any cosmetic repairs or kitchen remodeling plans. Kitchen remodeling is often necessary, especially in older homes, but taking these steps to winterize is an important investment in your home and family's safety.

Other Winter Tips for Your Home

  • If the weather is going to be severe, bring your pets indoors. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with plenty of water.

  • Keep your pipes from freezing by letting a little water, even at a trickle, running. Cover outside faucets and turn off the water supply to those faucets if possible.

  • Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

  • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold.

  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Use Extreme Caution Carbon Monoxide Kills

    • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

    • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.

    • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

    • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.

    • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

    Making a list of the most important things to do when you winterize a home will go a long way to help you prioritize what is important. Work off of that list in order of importance - or if you need to (in your case) in order of cost. Every person's decision about what makes something a priority is different. The key thing to remember is that by making a list, you will be closer to doing something.

    If you don't make a list, you are less likely to take action.