With the colder months fast approaching, new and long-time homeowners are once again faced with the crucial question: how do you winterize a house properly? What steps do you need to take to ensure your roof doesn’t leak and your pipes don’t burst? Winter in Minnesota can be harsh, so failing to prepare your home for the season can leave you with extensive and expensive repairs come springtime.
Whether you’re leaving for a long holiday vacation or simply want to make it through the season safe and warm, winterize your home with these five practical tips:
Protect Pipes From Cold Air
Frozen and burst pipes are among the most common issues experienced by homeowners during winter. These plumbing emergencies can cause gallons of water to flood inside homes, leaving a significant mess to clean up in their wake.
Fortunately, there’s a practical way to winterproof your pipes to save yourself from this disaster. Covering those exposed outdoors with foam, polyethylene, or fiberglass insulation can help protect them from freezing temperatures. For kitchen and bathroom pipes, opening the cabinet doors is a great way to expose them to warm air.
Drain Plumbing Fixtures
Besides insulating your pipes, another way to winterproof your home is to turn off your main water valve. Doing this is especially essential if you’ll be away for a long time, as it eliminates the chances of a flood should a pipe burst inside your home.
After turning off your water supply, draining your plumbing fixtures is also a good idea. Any water remaining in your pipes, toilet tanks, and other fittings can freeze and expand in freezing temperatures, eventually causing pipes to burst.
To do this, simply open your faucets and flush your toilets until the water flows out as a slow drip.
Seal Gaps Around Doors and Windows
Gaps around your windows, doors, and other openings allow cold air to seep in, making your home uncomfortable and driving your heating costs up. How do you winterize a house with air leaks?
Protect your home from cold drafts by actively looking around for holes and gaps. Then, caulk the gaps and cracks along your window and door frames and install draft guards under your doors to stop cool air from rushing inside your home.
Clean the Roof and Gutters
During fall, dried leaves, sticks, and other debris from nearby trees make their way into your roof and gutters. So before the first snow falls, winterize your home by clearing any accumulation it may have.
Clogged gutters allow ice and snow to build up, so cleaning these structures prevents melted snow from pooling on your roof and creating ice dams. In the long run, this helps you survive a cold winter in Minnesota without experiencing roof leaks and other water damage.
Have Your Heating System Checked
Winterproof your home way before the colder months by having your furnaces, boilers, and chimneys serviced. If you wait until the first snowstorm before you get your heating system cleaned, your service professionals will likely be fully booked by that time.
Aside from ensuring the heating system works properly, it’s also important that you keep your thermostat on. Setting it to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit keeps your house and its components at room temperature — warm enough to keep your pipes from freezing but low enough to avoid driving your energy costs.
Protect Your Safe Haven With the Help of the Experts
Finding answers to questions like, “How do you winterize a home?” can be overwhelming. With the above practical tips in mind, you can be well-equipped to avoid unwanted surprises during the coldest time of the year. Your home is not only your biggest investment but also your safe haven, so preparing it for harsh weather conditions helps ensure you’ll make it through the season warm and cozy.