Winterizing your home helps keep the heat in and the cold out, which can mean lower energy bills for you and increased spending money for all your holiday shopping. Learning how to winterize your home effectively can also help prevent damage to your property and belongings and reduce the risk of injury for you, your family and any guests who might stop by to visit. ServiceMaster Restore® wants everyone you love to stay safe and energy-efficient this winter, so we put together a checklist to help you winterize your home before the cold weather hits.
Winterize Your Home Checklist:
- Drain A/C water lines to prevent freezing and turn off water directly from the shut-off valve.
- Drain any outdoor water lines from swimming pools and sprinkler systems.
- Detach garden hoses from spigots and drain the hoses before storing them in a protected area.
- Insulate pipes in any unheated interior spaces like the attic, basement, crawl space, garage and under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- If temperatures drop dramatically, let the faucet drip and keep cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom sinks to keep your pipes from freezing.
- Clean out your gutters to keep snow melt running freely and prevent the formation of ice dams.
- Caulk around the outside of windows and doors to keep cold air out of your home. Leaks around windows and doors can increase your energy costs.
- Add interior weather-stripping around windows and doors.
- Apply insulation film to windows to cut down on heat loss through the glass.
- Consider adding a storm door to entryways that lead outside.
- Use draft guards in front of doors that lead to an attached garage, multi-season room or patio.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. In the winter, they should rotate clockwise to push warm air back down into the room.
- Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned, if necessary.
Insulation and HVAC
- Make sure your home has adequate insulation, including in the crawl space, above the garage, in the basement and in the attic. Proper attic insulation will help prevent ice dams on the roof.
- Change your air filters and have your HVAC system professionally inspected before you turn on the heat this year. Deal with any ducts or vents that need cleaning to allow for maximum indoor air quality.
- A must-do on every winterizing home checklist is to install and use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats let you store and repeat multiple daily settings or override any setting manually without changing the weekly program. It's that easy. According to the Department of Energy, turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for just eight hours can save you between 5 and 15 percent on your annual heating bill. That said, you should never set the thermostat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid freezing the pipes.
- If you're going to be away from home during winter for more than a day or two, don't forget to unplug your appliances, turn off all portable heaters, leave your ceiling fans running and open the doors to your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets to allow warm air to flow around the pipes.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a pipe breaks or our homes suffer some other kind of unforeseeable damage during winter. If that happens, the professionals at your local ServiceMaster® Restore are here to help – 24/7/365. We're always available with expert advice, training and equipment to help you get back to normal as soon as possible.