Family of 4 in cold house

9 Ways To Prep Your Home For Colder Weather

When people think fall traditions, they usually think pumpkin carving or back-to-school shopping—insulating water pipes is further down the list. But for those living in colder climates, making sure your home is ready for sub-optimal temperatures should be a priority. Below, some steps you can take to ensure bitter weather doesn’t send a chill down your spine.

1. Have Your Furnace Inspected

You might have ignored recommendations to have someone give your gas or electric furnace an annual check-up. Why spend $50 to $100 just to be told everything is fine? Easy answer: because it’ll be significantly more if you have to call for an emergency repair when it’s freezing outside. Furnaces can collect dust, suffer outdoor air intake blockages, or have gas ignition issues that might go undetected until it’s too late.

2. Trim Your Trees

Tree branches that loom over your house might not be a big deal during warm weather, but ice and snow can conspire to weigh them down, creating potentially damaging collisions with your property. (Or worse, your neighbor’s.) Trim trees so you don’t have any bark-related threats after a storm. (Find out about planting storm-safe trees here.)

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3. Wrap Your Water Pipes

Ask someone in plumbing about a frozen, bursting water pipe and you’ll probably get a look of pity and horror. Pipes that are exposed to colder temperatures in unheated or cool areas of your home are susceptible to freezing and expansion, which creates a tremendous mess if they burst from the pressure. Wrap your pipes in insulation to help keep them warm and make sure everyone in your household knows where the water shut-off is in case of an emergency.

4. Block Drafts

Older homes with ill-fitting doors are especially prone to cold air escaping into the home through frames, leading to an increase in energy expenses. To cut down on your bill (and chill), opt for a simple door draft block that insulates entryways from outside breezes.

5. Check Your Vents

You don’t want furniture or other obstacles blocking warm air from circulating inside your home. More importantly, you don’t need anything obstructing the air intake vents, since that could end up “suffocating” your furnace and causing expensive repairs. Keep all vents free from anything that could impede air flow.

6. Look For Loose Exterior Fittings

If you have siding, shutters, or other additions to your home that are growing loose with age, make sure they’re tightened up before freezing and blistery weather moves in. Strong winds and ice can strip them right off the premises.

7. Shrink-wrap Your Windows

If you can feel drafts coming from window frames but don’t have the budget to replace them, opt for a plastic winter insulation kit, available at most hardware stores. The plastic will prevent cold air from entering. (You can also try caulk or weather-stripping material—or all three—to address problem areas.)

8. Reverse Your Fans

Ceiling fans that run counter-clockwise are great for summer weather, but reversing them to a clockwise rotation will help circulate the hot air near the ceiling back toward the room. Most fans should give you the option of switching.

9. Clean Your Gutters

You should be doing this regardless of the season, but gutters clogged up with leaves and other debris in winter can be especially hazardous—blockages that slow water flow can allow for ice to form, creating dams and icicles that can damage your exterior.

Protect your home from more than just the weather with the right homeowners insurance coverage. Get a fast, free quote today through the GEICO Insurance Agency and see how much you could save on quality home coverage.

Next article: 5 Cleaning Hacks for Your Home

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    Leave a comment

  1. Nona says,

    Since we all have been told numerous about a dark winter, get tents for your beds it will keep u warm , Keep ur family together . Much love and God Bless

  2. Shirley says,

    I enjoy the helpful articles sent by Geico Insurance periodically. The articles are full of information that you can use everyday!

  3. Stephen Christopher says,

    A really great product is Seal ‘N Peel. It is a caulk that dries clear , and when warm leather comes, you just grab an end and pull it off. And it really comes off. We use it to tighten up leaky windows. It does have a strong odor for a day or two.

  4. ron forester says,

    make sure you check your furnace’s condensation collector and the drain for the condensation water. They will clog up and back up and shut the system down

  5. James Grimm II says,

    These are all excellent Ideas to save energy. Also getting a thermostat control you can set for home conditions and you and your family are at home, or when you’re away and you can lower your temps. all this by phone. even set the temp for hot water. Mind is set so if you do fail to check the water before you get in the shower my highest temp is a bit hot but won’t scald you. Also plenty hot for a long shower if you please. Oh yes, contact your electric service and see if they have a program. It was free to me and may be for you. Of course with the furnace check I’m sure they will let you know if you need a filter. Rule of thumb is to replace it every year at the fall season start. I also change mine the beginning of the spring solstice. Have a happy holiday…

  6. Raymond B Guerra Jr. says,

    I live in a 95 year old home. I’ve upgraded to thick double pane windows, my walls are made of adobe and are 14 inches thick, my attic is stuffed with insulation, and I have central heating and air conditioning that has a 96% efficiency rating. It’s hard keeping up an older home but I will never move from here.

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