D.C. weather is known to go below freezing, especially in January! Here are five actionable tips to make sure your home is protected this winter season:
1. Protect the Pipes
While protecting your pipes from freezing won’t necessarily keep you warm, it will protect you from one of the most expensive repair bills a homeowner could receive. Prevent burst pipes by insulating exposed pipes in the uninsulated corners of your home, like in crawlspaces and attics, by wrapping them in electrical heating tape, and then insulating them in foam insulation.
2. Insulate Windows and Doors
An uninsulated door or window doesn’t pose the same risks as uninsulated pipes, but you can save plenty of dollars on heating and energy by preventing cold air from leaking through and around entrances. The best and easiest way to reduce drafts is through weatherstripping, caulking, sticking draft stopping door snakes under doors, putting up heavier curtains, or installing insulating window film over windows and unused sliding doors.
Want to really impress guests and keep winter outside? Look into installing exterior barn doors outside your sliding glass doors so you’re warm and toasty inside without ever having to mess with your screen doors.
2. Check the roof
Not many people think about it, but winter weather really puts strain and stress on your home’s roof. Everything from strong winds and snow build-up can hurt your roof, and a damaged roof can reduce your home’s value. Prepare your roof for the woes of winter by hiring a professional to inspect your roof and provide any recommendations. It’s also a good time for you to clear out the gutters if you haven’t done so already.
3. Clean Out the Fireplace
Those of us fortunate enough to have a fireplace to keep us warm with fresh flames also have the duty of keeping both the fireplace and chimney clean. A blocked chimney is a surefire fire hazard.
4. Protect Your Yard
If you’re not too concerned about the color of your lawn, when it comes to preparing your backyard for winter, you won’t spend more than an hour or two. Cover up your patio furniture so they aren’t too harshly weathered or damaged by ice. You should also consider giving your deck a fresh coat of sealer, as well as emptying the gasoline of your lawn mower or any other gas-powered equipment. To prevent any damages to water fountains or pools, unplug pumps, drain them of any water, and give them a final cleaning.
Plants shouldn’t be ignored, even if they go dormant for the winter. Move potted plants indoors and near windows so they can still get sunlight without being damaged by the cold. Add an additional layer of mulch and straw to act as an insulator for any plants that can’t be moved indoors. Tender plants should be wrapped in an old blanket on particularly snowy or cold nights. You should also consider building a ventilated cold frame or greenhouse.
5. Set the Thermostat
As winter comes in, cold and warm days might fluctuate and it’s a waste to keep fidgeting with your thermostat, especially if you live in an older home or apartment. Pick a good temperature for when your home is occupied, and then one for when you’re not at home. Consider investing in a smart thermostat, as well as just dressing warmer (and joining in on the newfound popularity of adult onesies).