When it comes to getting your home ready for winter, it’s easy to read all the winterizing articles out there, but taking a little action may be difficult with a bust schedule.
Well, as a homeowner, you may find most of the advice to be intimidating, labor-intensive and time-consuming.
So, as you prepare for winter, focus on these three quick, cost-effective actions that any homeowner can tackle to get a house ready for the long, cold winter:
1: Seal window trim and other decorative exposed wood
Total time: 3 hours
Total cost: Free (Use leftover paint!)
If paint is starting to chip and peel on your exterior windowsills, window frames and even some decorative fence posts, leaving the wood exposed makes it susceptible to rot and damage.
The fix: Just scrape up the weathered paint and brush on a moisture-locking one. It’s that easy.
Fine tune in the spring.
2: Prevent ice dams
Total time: 2 hours
Total cost: $120
Preventing ice dams might be your most important tip of all.
When the snow on your roof melts, it needs a clear path to trickle out through your gutters or it will sit in the gutters and refreeze. These ice dams add a lot of weight to the house that can damage your interior walls. Even worse, water can back up and leak through the roof into the house.
The fix: First, clean out the gutters after the last leaf drops and the first snowflake flies. Then, install gutter guards. There are lots of options and things can get pricey, but go with a mid-priced product with good reviews.
(Quick reminder: Safety first!) If you don’t have the right ladders or equipment or are simply afraid of heights, find a licensed and insured handyman or landscaper to clean your gutters and install your guards.
3: Tune-up your furnace
Total time: 10 minutes
Total cost: $15
If you have a very old furnace that you’re trying to squeeze the last bit of life out of. (In fact, it’s legally old enough to run for President!) Then double-down on precautionary maintenance.
It’s always recommended to change furnace filters at least every two to three months to remove any dust, pet dander or other particles that can clog your furnace. When your furnace is dirty, it has to work harder, and that means it will cost more to run and likely wear out sooner.
The fix: Stock up on filters and change it every two to three months as needed.
Remove snow from your deck and the sides of your house
Total time: 30 minutes once every two weeks
Total cost: Free
Obviously, you’ll have to wait until it actually starts snowing to take action, but if snow tends to pile up at the base of the house, move it away from your home. When it melts, that snow needs to head somewhere, and sometimes that can mean your basement. Or if excess snow sits on your deck, the melt can cause mold come springtime.
Of course, every house’s winterization needs are different, so yours could be a bit more expensive or time-consuming. But there are always small steps you can take now that can prevent big problems later.