The cold months are upon us …

The cold months are upon us, and you need to be sure your home can endure the harsh weather. If you’re not careful, Mother Nature’s harsh and unforgiving ways could result in damage to your home and its belongings. Here are some easy DIY projects that you should tackle now to protect your house this winter.

1. Close the pool. Lower the water a bit and remove the water from the equipment and plumbing of your pool so it doesn’t freeze. The most important pool products to get are a winterizing kit or pool cover. Both will prevent the pool from becoming filthy during the cold months, thus making opening it that much easier. Lastly, store your pool supplies in a safe place so they survive the winter.
2. Prepare for snow. Get all the essentials so you can dig yourself out of the wintery conditions should you need to. A snow shovel, gloves, snow boots, a window scraper, and salt to prevent the walkways from becoming icy should do it.
3. Change filters. Properly maintain your furnace by stocking up and changing the filters often. This will free up airflow and keep your heater running efficiently so you won’t have to worry about staying warm.
4. Install storm doors and windows. While this project is quite an investment, it is something you can do yourself that will protect your windows and doors from wintery weather as well as lower your energy bill. Improvenet says that “installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45% after sealing drafts and reducing airflow.”
5. Work with what you’ve got. If installing windows and doors sounds too costly, there are a few cheaper options to help keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Try filling in any gaps in your windows by caulking them or sealing the whole window with plastic. To get the same effect, weather strip doorways or create draft stoppers out of fabric, fill them with sand, and place them at the base of your doors.
6. Change your fans. Many ceiling fans have a switch that will alter the direction the blades run in, and you can run your fans in reverse to keep the heat down. This is perhaps the easiest and least-known winterizing hack out there.
7. Add insulation. Extra insulation in your walls and pipes is always a good idea, as it will save money on heating your water and home overall.
8. Leave the thermostat on. While most any other time of year you can get away with keeping your thermostat on a schedule where it kicks on only when you’re home, during cold temperatures, you’ll want to leave it running so the pipes in your home don’t freeze.
9. Test your sump pump. You can rest easy at night knowing that your basement won’t flood, simply poor water down your sump pump and make sure it turns on.
10. Protect your foundation. Get downspout extensions to help keep water away from your basement and its foundation.
11. Do a quick inspection. Check the roof, attic, and gutters to make sure there are no missing shingles and that they can handle the weight of the ice and snow this year. Kiplinger recommends that “If your home had lots of icicles last winter — or worse, ice dams, which can cause meltwater to backup and flow into your house — take steps to prevent potential damage this year.” You’ll also want to trim any nearby branches because you don’t want them to fall and damage your home.
12. Drain pipes. It’s easy enough to forget, but it’s very important that you drain any exterior pipes, so they don’t freeze and burst.
13. Build an animal shelter. If you have pets who live outdoors, keep them safe from the elements by constructing a proper animal shelter.

Lastly, store up on water as well as canned and dry foods so you can survive should you get stuck at home. You’ll rest easier knowing you’re prepared should a big storm hit. After you’ve done everything to ensure your home is safe and warm this winter, light a cozy fire and enjoy some much-needed downtime.


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