How to Winterize Your Home
8 Things Every Homeowner Should Do Before Winter
Though many are enjoying the beautiful colors, warm days and crisp nights of autumn, winter is just around the corner. Westlake Ace Hardware reminds homeowners there are eight key things they should do now before the mercury drops and the snow begins falling:
- Organize Your Garage: After a long summer of lawn mowing, gardening, sports and leisure activities, chances are your garage resembles a messy closet. There are many efficient, space-saving products available today to help you organize your garage and regain the space your cars will need when winter weather comes:
- A Racor®Ceiling Storage Lift lets you load and lift heavy items to the ceiling without a ladder. It’s great for storing outdoor furniture, canoes and large tools like table saws.
- The Crawford® 8ft Garage and Tool Organizer can hold up to 24 rakes, shovels, brooms and other tools.
- Heavy-duty plastic containers (with a lid) are ideal for storing outdoor furniture cushions and sporting goods.
- A Racor® Bike Rack uses one wall-mounted fastener to conveniently holds up to two bikes.
- Don’t forget that you can also insulate your garage from harsher temperatures with a garage door insulation kit. All you need is a box cutter and a marker and you should be able to get this installed in about an hour.
- Keep Leaves Collected. The red, orange and yellow leaves of autumn are beautiful, but they can wreak havoc on your lawn if left to sit for too long. A thick layer of leaves will choke grass of valuable sunshine, oxygen and moisture. Stock up now on recyclable lawn bags, work gloves and a heavy-duty leaf rake. To help save time (and your back!), consider buying a gas- or electric powered leaf blower.
- Seal Your Windows. For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit and you could save up to $18 per window this heating season. Properly installed window plastic is essentially invisible. It adds a buffer against drafts, and the extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home’s ability to hold heat.
- Seal Your Switches and Outlets. You might not think about it, but sometimes light switch and power outlet panels mounted on exterior walls of your home could also be sources for cold air leaks. It’s easy to test for, just get a book of matches and light one close to your light switches or outlets and if you see it flicker after a few seconds, you might want to consider putting some small insulation panels just behind each plate.
- Seal drafty doors. If you see light through one of the seams of any of your outside access doors, that could be a big contributor to big heating bills. Spend a little now to save a bunch later by installing a quality door sweep. All you need is a drill, marker and screwdriver.
- Replace Your Furnace Filters. Dirty air filters restrict airflow and make your furnace work harder to deliver the warm air it created. Keeping the filter clean can lower your system’s energy consumption by five to 15 percent—which could save you up to $100 a year. Before you turn on your furnace for the winter, change the air filters. Do the same thing in the spring before you turn on your air conditioner.
- Disconnect and Drain Your Hoses. Freezing temperatures can ruin garden hoses if they are left outside during the winter. Over time, it will make them brittle and prone to leaks. Before freezing temperatures are predicted for your area, disconnect all hoses and hang them over outdoor furniture or saw horses to completely drain the water, then store them in your garage or shed. Also, disconnecting hoses from your outside faucets will drain water from the lines and help prevent ruptures and leaks.
- Mulch Your Landscape. During the spring and summer, a thick layer of organic mulch on the garden and landscaped beds helps prevent weed growth and preserve moisture. Winter mulching around shrubs and other plantings helps shield ground from the warmth of sun, thus keeping it frozen and plants dormant until spring. In addition helping conserve ground moisture during the traditionally dry winter months, the mulch also gives beds a neat, tidy appearance.