how to prepare your home for winter

Remember When the Cold of Winter Comes from Lord of the Rings? It’s that time of the year again. That time when temperatures plunge and the days grow shorter.

As the coldness creeps in and you prepare to turn on the heat, it is but a good idea to protect the home itself from potential damage by taking care of heat and energy leaks.

Here are some basic tasks that will ensure you stay warm, safe and save energy this winter.

Seal the Windows

Ensure drafty windows are sealed to keep heat in and reduce the energy bill with either or both of these two tips.

First, caulk the cracks. Caulking is cheap and easy to apply.

Second, you could cover the windows using a thin plastic film, while taping it down using waterproof double-sided tape. You can heat the edges with a hairdryer as you tape. When the outside temperatures rise, you can just peel the film off and open the window.

Prepare your Hearth for Fire

Get a flashlight and peep inside the fireplace for obvious cracks, build-up or bird nests. Also, you should check the outside for crumbling mortar and broken bricks, or anything like that. Check that the damper opens, shuts and seals tightly. Don’t forget to clean out the ashes as well.

If you find it too much work for you, you can have the chimney professionally cleaned. Remember to make hay while the sun shines – stock up on firewood and kindling.

Clear out the Gutters

As autumn comes to a close, grab a ladder, rubber gloves, a garbage bag and dig in. Remove all forms of dirt, from leaves to twigs to caked-in dirt. Ensure that the downpipes are clear of any obstruction.

Pad your Pipes

A small frozen pipe can cause disaster should it burst, so it is advisable to pad your pipes to prevent floods. By so doing, you will be preventing substantial water damage and conserving energy at the same time.

Heating Maintenance

Have a professional come in and give your heating system a thumbs up before you turn it on. If your heating systems are overworking, replace the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Prepare for Winter Storm

It is never a bad idea to be on the safe side in case of a snow storm. Always make it a point of having a well-stocked kit for the emergencies. These include a flashlight, batteries, matches, candles, a lighter, blankets; warm clothes even.

If you live in areas perennially hit by blizzards, you can even stock up on non-perishable foods, water, baby formula, medicine and a first-aid kit. These supplies should be able to last you at least three days. Nature can be unforgiving, and the greatest favor you could do yourself (save for relocating) is to equip yourself for such calamities. For you never know when it’s going to come.

Keep warm this season and good luck!