Firs-Time Homeowners Checklist for Winterizing your Home
As a first-time homeowner, there can be much excitement about decorating and settling into your new home. There may also be some unwelcome surprises such as repairs and minor issues you didn’t notice during the walk-through. Luckily, you can head off some of the biggest potential problems, such as a broken furnace, by winterizing your home in advance. Follow this checklist to prepare for your first winter as a new homeowner!
Check Your Heating
Turn on your heating system to make sure everything’s running smoothly. It’s also a good idea to schedule an annual tune-up and cleaning from a licensed HVAC contractor. If you don’t schedule an HVAC visit, make sure to replace your furnace’s air filter about every two months through the winter season. If you have an older home with radiators, you should also check to see that they are getting hot. This is also a good time to get a programmable or digital thermostat so you can heat your home more efficiently by turning the temperature down at night or when you’re not home. Finally, check your smoke detectors and replace any as needed—residential fires are more common in the wintertime.
Insulate Your Home
The most effective way to insulate your home is in the attic, which often has no insulation or too little. An insulated attic prevents hot air in the rooms below from rising into the attic.
In addition to insulating your attic, it’s a good idea for your hot water heater and pipes, too, especially here in New Jersey where temperatures sometimes get low enough to freeze pipes.
Speaking of your hot water heater, it’s a good idea to flush it to remove sediment. You can either do this yourself or call an HVAC and plumbing professional.
Do your windows feel drafty? Consider insulated window treatments to help keep the heat in.
Weatherproof Your Doors and Windows
Keep the weather where it belongs—outside. Caulk any holes or openings around windows, doors, air conditioners, and mail chutes. Add weatherstripping around the perimeter of windows and doors. If your front door doesn’t already have one, add a door strip to seal the gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold. You can also use a draft guard under your entry doors to stop cold air from entering. Do you have a storm door in addition to your front door? This is another way to keep the weather out.
One last tip for the inside is to set your ceiling fans to turn clockwise so that they push hot hair down from the ceiling toward the floor.
Prep The Outside of Your Home
While most of your focus may be on heating your home efficiently, take some time to also get your yard in order:
- Clean up the yard and trim tree branches.
- Remove and store your hose to avoid it freezing over. Also, shut off the water valve to the hose.
- Bring your plants inside.
- Store your grill. Close the tank valve and disconnect the tank if you have a gas grill with a propane tank.
- Store outdoor furniture.
- Clean the gutters.