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How To Prepare Your House For Winter

 •  9 min read


Jonathon Lemoine

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As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, there's one thing that's on the mind of every homeowner: preparing their house for winter. Whether you're a seasoned homeowner or a first-time winter dweller, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your home is ready to withstand the cold, harsh conditions that lie ahead. From protecting your pipes to sealing drafts, this comprehensive guide provides you with all the tips you need to protect your house and keep it cozy throughout the frosty months.

8 Tips to Prepare Your Home For The Winter

1. Inspect and Seal Windows and Doors

Make sure to inspect and seal all windows and doors to prevent drafts and keep your home warm during the winter months. Start by checking each window for any cracks or gaps that may allow cold air to enter. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal these areas, ensuring a tight seal. Windows are notorious for letting in drafts, so it's important to address any issues before the cold weather sets in.

Next, move on to your doors. Check the bottom of each door for any gaps that could let in cold air or snow. Install a door sweep or draft stopper to block out drafts and keep the warmth inside your home. Additionally, make sure the door hinges are tight and secure, as loose hinges can create gaps that let in cold air.

In addition to inspecting windows and doors, don't forget about other potential sources of drafts such as chimneys and vents. Make sure there are no leaves or debris blocking your chimney, as this can lead to poor ventilation and potentially dangerous situations. Inspect vents throughout your house for any signs of leaks or insulation problems.

2. Add Insulation to the Attic

By adding insulation to your attic, you can significantly improve energy savings and prevent cold drafts from entering your living space. During the cold months, inadequate insulation in the attic can lead to heat loss and increased monthly energy bills. Adding insulation is a cost-effective solution that can help regulate the temperature inside your home and lower your energy consumption. It acts as a barrier against the outside elements, preventing heat from escaping through the roof and minimizing cold air infiltration.

3. Clear Gutters and Downspouts

When it comes to clearing gutters, one of the main goals is to prevent blockages that can lead to water damage. Leaves, debris, and other materials can accumulate in your gutters over time, causing them to become clogged. This can result in water overflowing onto your roof or siding, potentially causing costly damage.

Clearing your gutters also plays a significant role in preventing ice dams during winter. When snow melts on the roof, it needs a clear path to drain off properly. If your gutters are clogged with leaves or other debris, this process becomes hindered. The melted snow can then refreeze at the edge of your roof, forming ice dams that prevent proper drainage. This can lead to water seeping into your attic or walls, causing interior damage and even mold growth.

Clearing out your gutters and downspouts should be an integral part of your winter preparation routine for homeownership. By keeping them free from leaves and debris, you can maintain a functional water supply within your home while preventing potential damage caused by overflowing or frozen water during colder months. So don't forget about this important task when getting ready for winter!

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4. Insulate Exterior Walls

In addition to insulating your attic, you'll want to ensure that the exterior walls of your home are properly insulated to keep warm air in and cold air out. One important aspect of insulating exterior walls is sealing any air leaks. Start by checking for gaps or cracks around windows and doors. Apply weather stripping to create a tight seal and prevent drafts. Don't forget to inspect the areas where pipes enter your home, as these can also be sources of air leakage. Use pipe insulation or caulk to seal these openings.

Another area that often goes overlooked when insulating exterior walls is the chimney crown. Over time, the crown can crack or deteriorate, allowing cold air to seep into your home. Inspect the chimney crown for any signs of damage and repair it if necessary. Additionally, check window screens and wood trim for any gaps or damage that may need attention.

Lastly, don't neglect the structural integrity of your exterior walls when adding insulation. Insulation works best when there are no gaps or voids in the wall cavity. If you have access to the wall cavity from inside your home, fill it with appropriate insulation material like fiberglass batts or spray foam insulation. This will provide an additional layer of protection against heat loss.

5. Check Heating Systems

Don't overlook the importance of regularly checking and maintaining your heating systems to ensure a cozy and comfortable home throughout the winter months. Neglecting this crucial step can lead to issues such as water damage, inefficient heating, and even potential health hazards. In order to remain safe in the winter months while using your heating system, it’s important to make sure that all parts of the furnace are in good working order. 

This includes replacing the furnace filter every three months to better protect your system and help air quality stay at its peak level. Another key aspect of your heating system is your hot water heater. You should take this opportunity to flush the tank and check the interior insulation. If your water heater breaks in the winter, you won't be able to warm yourself up with a hot shower or bath or enjoy instant hot water, so it's important to keep on top of it. 

6. Protect Pipes from Freezing

Frozen pipes can lead to a host of problems, including burst pipes and water damage. To prevent this, first, insulate any exposed water pipes in unheated areas such as attics or basements. Use foam pipe insulation or heat tape to wrap around the pipes, ensuring they're well covered. Additionally, consider installing insulation sleeves on outdoor pipes and spigots.

Another crucial step is to disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses before the temperature drops below freezing. This'll help prevent ice from forming in both the hose and the connected pipe. Remember to close off the indoor water valve that supplies water to outdoor faucets as well. By doing so, you can avoid potential leaks and save yourself from costly repairs in the future. 

7. Perform Roof Maintenance

Your roof is one of the most vulnerable areas during the cold months, and taking some preventative measures can save you from potential damage and costly repairs. Start by giving your roof a thorough inspection. Look for any loose or damaged shingles, cracks in the flashing, or signs of wear and tear. If you notice any issues, it's best to address them before the harsh winter weather arrives. 

Another crucial step in maintaining your roof is removing any accumulated debris such as leaves, pine needles, or ice-coated branches. Use a sturdy ladder and be cautious while climbing up to avoid accidents. Clearing away these materials will not only prevent clogs but also minimize the risk of water damage caused by melting snow or ice. Lastly, don't forget about sealing any gaps or cracks around vents, chimneys, or skylights using a caulk gun. This will help keep heat inside your home and prevent drafts from entering through these openings. 

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8. Prepare Emergency Kits and Supplies

Don't overlook the importance of having emergency kits and supplies ready for whatever unexpected challenges winter may bring. From having no water due to a pipe burst to being locked inside thanks to a winter storm, here is a quick list of the essentials you should keep stocked in your emergency supply kit for the winter!

  • Water
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications 
  • Smoke detectors 
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow shovel 

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Preparing your home for winter is essential if you want to stay warm and cozy all throughout the frosty season. One of the key aspects of maintaining a warm home is proper roof maintenance. Your roof is the single most important factor in keeping heat in your home, which is why you need to take good care of it. At LeMoine Roofing, we use the latest tools and techniques to ensure your roof is in perfect condition. Moreover, since we want to leave you and your home in the best possible position, we will make yearly visits and leave you with a comprehensive maintenance plan to ensure few issues will arise. 

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