Winterizing your house (23 tips & checklist)

If you own a house you must take preventive measures to winterize your house, not just to minimize damages and provide winter comfort, but also to preserve the value of your home in the long run.

Getting closer to the autumn period may be a problem, we can’t help but think about how cold it will be. Finding out how to winterize an occupied residence would undoubtedly be the next best move.

Of all, the major aim is to winterize your house and maintain your home comfortable while you still conserve electricity because if you leave the heater on for an extended period, you’ll be wasting a lot of money on power.

However, before winterizing your house you should know the necessary things to be done both inside and outside the house. 

Inside of the house:

Keep the following in mind when winterizing your house this fall:

1. Smoke detectors: 

It is very important to check the smoke detectors during the season and must be kept clean in order to function properly, as dust and dirt can impair its performance.

Most importantly, replace the batteries every fall so they will always work when you need them the most.

Dust the unit and keep it clean especially from paint, stickers, as well as other decorations that could cause it to malfunction. 

2. Check, Clean, Seal, and Insulate the dryer vent: 

To clean, check, seal and insulate the dryer vent you will need the following tools;

If you have all these necessary tools, the easiest and simplest steps to follow is to;

Disconnect the dryer’s power cable from the outlet before cleaning the vent: 

  • After disconnecting, start by removing the vent shield from the exit point and locate the external vent outside your home. Cleaning with a brush will be much easier as a result of this. If you can’t locate where the external vent is, you can easily do that by turning on your dryer and walk around outside your house, listening for the dryer’s sound.

Using a Brush Kit, clean the vent:

  • Put together the cleaning kit, connect one of the flexible rods to the brush.
  • To remove all of the dirt, insert the brush into the vent and slowly spin it while moving it back and forth. 
  • Continue to clean the vent until it is dirt-free.

Clean the Vent:

  • Connect your vacuum to a hose so it can reach any lint that the brush missed.
  • Insert the vacuum into the vent and suction up any dust that has accumulated.
  • Vacuum the external vent on the outside of your house but if your vacuum is just for usage in your home, you can just use the brush instead.
  • Replace the vent’s the outside cover

It’s time to connect back your dryer

  • Before reconnecting everything, make sure the ducts are in good shape. If the duct is distorted or has holes in it, it should be replaced.
  • Use the screwdriver to replace the dryer in its original location.
  • Turn the gas valve back on or plug the dryer into the outlet and ensure that the dryer is correctly connected and to eliminate any lingering dust, run it for a few minutes.

3. Maintenance of the water heater: 

Here, you will need a draining hose, 

Using a drain hose, empty the water heater from the bottom. If your sump pump is nearby, it can typically go into it.

Ensure that the water heater is adjusted to 120 degrees.

It is available at a cheaper rate here

4. Replace the air filter in your HVAC system: 

Before the cold temperature season, get an inspection done, It will be disappointing when you try turning on your furnace only to find out it’s broken!  They’re available on Amazon.

5. Waterline should be drained to the outside:

Waterline should be drained to the outside: A water control valve should be installed within your home, switch it off so that the water drains when you have finished inspecting the outside.

6. Effectively protect the water valve from the outside: 

This will keep it from freezing throughout the winter, which could cause your pipelines to break inside your home.

7. You can get a smart thermostat that sends notifications to your phone: 

The latest thermostats, such as Nest, can link to your phone and notify you if you are away from home and there is a power failure. This is a great help in preventing and controlling issues before they become worst.

8. Inspection of the basement and foundation:

Look for any cracks in the walls and fix them if possible.

9. Check for attic seals:

Your attic hatch releases a lot of heated air out of your house. You can cover the opening with an absorbing attic cover because it will help in reducing the cost of electricity.

10. Inspect for air leakage in your windows and doors:

You may have kept windows open during the summer to get some fresh air. To save money on your heating cost, try and ensure they are all tightly shut and equipped for the fall season. Secondly, make sure you look for any holes in your windows and doors that you may seal to prevent airflow,

If necessary, replace the door sweep and try checking if there is any Remove debris from the door jam.

11. Ceiling fans: 

They have a black switch towards the top of the fan, above the blades, that may be flipped to reverse direction.

12. Prepare for an emergency: 

This aspect is very important too, make sure you have enough water, food, and medicine to last at least three days in your home. The ideal period is seven days. You’ll be set when the ice storms arrive this Winter and you know it’s going to be a cold one!

13. Blanket for the fireplace: 

A fantastic device that prevents hot air from leaving and cold air from entering your home. It’s available on Amazon.

Outside your house

Keep the following in mind when winterizing outside your house this fall:

14. Clear all debris/leaves in the gutters and check your roof to avoid anything that might lead to ice: 

Throughout the year, roof slates might become loosened, which can lead to leakage during the winter. Even before the seasons arrive, it’s a fine decision to have your roof examined by an expert to ensure there are no faults that need to be fixed.

15. Chimney:

Before the winter season is an excellent time to get your chimney cleaned up because the winter heavy snow might harm your chimney. When you start heating your home before the winter season you will be saving the lives of your loved ones.

16. Tall trees near your house or electrical lines should be pruned back. Make use of a pole saw.

17. Inspection of facets and hoses: 

You can now drain the leftover water from the line’s facet. Wait for 10 – 15 minutes for the water to drain from the facet.

18. Remove the hose from the system: 

Ensure that water is drained the hose is completely dry and detached from the faucet. This will protect your hose from harm during the winter.

19. Safeguard your deck and patio furniture.

20. Prepare the grill for the winter, your grill should be cleaned and a grill cover purchased.

Apart from working on the inside and outside of the house, there are other necessary things you should consider:

21. Getting a Smart Thermostat if you don’t get a Nest

This will help reduce your electricity bills.  The most recent thermostats readjust themselves automatically to the number of people in the house at any given time. It keeps the place colder when no one is in it and warmer when there are a lot of people in it,  You won’t need to switch on the heating if this happens. You will also save money on your next electricity bill as an outcome.

22. Lower the Thermostat settings:

Do you know you can also save some money when you lower the thermostat, the Department of Energy suggests adjusting your thermostat to 68 degrees. When it’s freezing outdoors, these few degrees can save you some cash. So, why not set the thermostat to a lower temperature? You can set it to 64 degrees when you go out and then warm it up one to two hours before you return. Many modern thermostats have numerous settings, allowing you to enjoy different temperatures all through the day.

23. Look after the water on the house foundation and the pipes:

Water gathering near your apartment’s foundation poses a threat to its structural stability. Because it expands whenever it freezes, if it penetrates into your home’s concrete cribbing through some kind of crack and solidifies, it may enlarge the crack. Foundational concerns are among the most costly to repair for homes. By following this procedure to winterizing your home, you can avoid problems caused by freezing water. 


At what temperature do pipes in a housing freeze?

When the temperature in your home reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you must be concerned. There is a chance that the pipes will explode at this point. Your home will be damaged if this occurs. Because your house will be flooded with toxic water, the other people who live there may become ill as well. In addition, the place will be quite stinky. As a result, you should keep an eye on this.

In the winter, should you leave the heat on in an empty house?

The first thing to consider is if all of the doors and windows are securely closed. If they are, it is a good idea to turn on the heater at a high setting. When you return, it will be really hot, and you will be able to switch off the heater. Of course, while you’re not using the heater, you’ll save electricity, especially if you sleep at night.

How do you prepare an unoccupied house for the winter?

You may choose to go on vacation or travel during this time, and since you will not be in the house, you can follow the same measures as when winterizing an occupied home.

But you note that you can’t turn down the furnace to 50 degrees if you live in a house and want to Winterize it. You’d absolutely freeze! 

You can further Winterize it using the following additional steps:

  • Maintain a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the house.
  • Turn off the light and turn off the water supply at the main switch. In worst-case scenarios, this would prevent the pipe from exploding.
  • Drain the water from the pipes to avoid freezing or burst pipes and turn off the water supply to avoid disaster when you return.
  • Disconnect the refrigerator and other appliances that are not in use: One option is to disconnect all of the appliances when they are not in use. If they’re still plugged in, there’s a chance they’ll catch fire.

There are a few more things you should do to prepare a vacant property for the winter:

How do you protect the pipes in a vacant house from freezing?

  1. Storm windows are a great addition to any home: Installing storm windows and doors in your home can help to winterize pipes. This is certainly relevant if the house is rather ancient. It also provides additional protection by preventing insects from entering the house. It also gives you a sense of security because fewer people will be able to view what is happening inside the house.
  1. Cover the Water Heater: It is critical to cover the water heater when it is not in use in order for it to endure as long as possible. Remember, you must do everything possible to keep your appliances in good working order. It’ll only be a matter of time before they break down if you don’t take care of them. These tasks require your complete attention, and a heater blanked is not particularly expensive.
  1. Organize your home: Take out all of your trash, including any paper that is strewn around your house. Keeping pests from crawling all over your kitchen sink is a good idea, right? This can be accomplished by clearing up all of the clutter in the kitchen. Make sure to use the proper all-purpose cleansers so that the kitchen sink smells great as well. You can keep rodents from approaching your kitchen sink by placing a rat repellent under it.
  1. Drapes and rugs should be thick: Rugs are used for more than just getting your feet out of your shoes. It also helps to keep your home warm, so hang a lot of draperies and make sure they’re thick. The same is true with rugs, where the pattern is unimportant but the weight is.
  1. Replace the weatherstripping if necessary: Examine the doors to discover if they allow light to pass through. If you can see even a speck of light through the weatherstripping, it’s time to replace it. What’s fantastic about it is that it won’t break the bank and will save you a ton of money on energy bills. Remember how that tiny hole in your door, no matter how small, can let a lot of air in? As a result, you should take action immediately now.

Final Thoughts

When winterizing your house numerous things may be done to keep your home warm during the winter. There’s no need to blow your budget on your electricity bill. There are some things you can accomplish without spending any money at all. It is preferable to be ready for Fall before it arrives. When the season changes to Winter, it will become considerably colder. As a result, you’ll employ these tactics frequently.

There are several things you can do to winterize your home, whether it is vacant or occupied. Note if vacant, don’t forget to empty all the trash cans before leaving. You won’t like the foul odor when you return. Also, get rid of any food in your refrigerator-that might spoil while you’re gone. 

Winterizing your house would result in significant energy savings. Because of the heavy usage of the heater in the Fall, it is common for the power bill to climb. Fortunately, there are techniques to reduce the amount of time you spend using the item. It would be dreadful if you had to rely on your heater all of the time. Look around your home to see what you can do to keep it from getting too cold. with any of the mentioned methods.

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

Recent Posts