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14 Absolute Do's and Don'ts of Home Winterization

Winterizing your home in the fall is essential to avoiding unexpected maintenance and repair bills in the winter. In fact, there are a number of imperative steps you should take to keep the interior and exterior of your home in top shape until spring. Here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind.
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Winterizing your home in the fall is essential to avoiding unexpected maintenance and repair bills in the winter. In fact, there are a number of imperative steps you should take to keep the interior and exterior of your home in top shape until spring. Here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind as you're compiling your home winterization to-do list:

Photo courtesy of Marras Illumination, LLC in New York, NY

Do's

  1. Look for air leaks in the ceiling to prevent ice dams and air drafts.
  2. Have a professional inspect your heating system and chimney to make sure they're working properly.
  3. If needed, add more insulation to your attic and walls to retain warm air.
  4. Clean out gutters and downspouts to prevent debris from forming and trapping moisture, which can cause roof and siding damage.
  5. Look for cracks in your home's foundation and repair immediately.
  6. If you have a filtered heating system, change the filter regularly to improve efficiency and prolong the life of the system.
  7. Shut off your A/C's water valve to prevent excess water buildup.
  8. Add weather stripping around gaps in your windows and doors (this will cost about $240).

Don'ts

  1. Rush to spend money on a new roof if you find leaks or holes -- have a roof repair pro look it over first.
  2. Insulate windows with film -- it doesn't help conserve heat.
  3. Cover outside A/C units with plastic -- it could severely damage them during the winter.
  4. Wait until the first below-freezing night to test out your furnace.
  5. Try to do all of the home winterization steps as DIY projects, especially those that may be complicated and require plumbing/electrical experience.
  6. Leave your sprinkler system on throughout the winter (even in mild climates).

More tips on home winterization

Preparing to winterize your home means getting ready way ahead of time. If you wait until after the first snowfall to start checking projects off your list, it will be too late. Consistent
. While you may take the biggest preventive maintenance steps in the fall, your home endures a lot of snow, hail, wind and ice throughout the winter -- and it needs your help to stay in shape. Keep a close eye on your:
  • Roof
  • Heating system
  • Plumbing pipes
  • Trees
  • Windows
  • Doors
Any one of these could fall underneath the pressure of winter's harsh climate. Address preventative maintenance projects immediately to avoid expensive repair bills and prevent spending hours, if not days, waiting in the cold for a professional to perform an emergency repair.