According to a 2022 survey by Real Research, over 34% of respondents voted for winter as their favorite season, noting things like snowfall, holidays, short days and long nights, and warm clothes as reasons for their vote. But as beautiful as winter is, it can wreak havoc on your home. From frozen pipes to high heating costs, winter can bring significant challenges that interfere with your family’s ability to live comfortably during the cold months.
Photo by Yan Krukau
Fortunately, if you’re willing to put in the effort to prepare and maintain your home for winter, it can be the coziest, most comfortable space to be in. Take these steps to ensure your home is winter-ready.
How is winter weather in your area?
Winter looks different in every area. So, how it affects your home depends on where you live. One of the most critical steps to take to prepare your home for the winter is to pinpoint the weather events most likely to affect your area during this season.
Keep in mind that this can change every year. For example, your city may have gotten a lot of snow last winter, but this winter will be warmer and wetter with consistent rainfall.
Take a moment to watch your local news station’s winter weather reports to see what you can look forward to. Pay special attention to any predictions for extreme weather events, as these can lead to severe property damage.
Flooding, for example, happens often during winter months. Fluctuating temperatures and the changing relationship between air pressure, moisture, and temperature can lead to a lot of rainfall and snow that prompts flooding.
If you’re in an area prone to flooding in the winter, ensuring your home’s foundation is strong, keeping your electrical systems in high places, sealing your windows and doors, and keeping your drainage infrastructure clear are essential to prepare your home for the season.
When you know how winter will affect your area this year, you can better prepare your home to be as comfortable as possible during this time.
Best practices for ensuring your home is winter-ready
In addition to what you must do to ready your home for the specific weather events most likely to hit your area, there are general best practices you can adopt to winterize your home. Do the following to ensure your home is warm, energy efficient, and safe during the cold months ahead.
Keep your home warm while being mindful of your finances
If there’s one thing we can count on during winter it’s low temperatures. It will be cold outside, making it that much more important to keep the inside of your home warm and cozy. However, if you aren’t careful, the costs associated with heating your home can get out of control quickly.
So, prioritize keeping your utility costs low during this season so that you can keep your home warm without draining your finances.
Start with reducing the strain on your HVAC system. Implement a smart thermostat that automates how and when your HVAC system works. Instead of having to adjust the temperature in your home manually, your smart thermostat will do it for you, ensuring you get maximum efficiency and save money on your heat bill.
Scheduling and/or performing maintenance duties will also make it easier and more cost-effective to keep your home warm during winter. This could look like:
- Testing your sump pump
- Cleaning the vents, chimney, and fireplace
- Adjusting ceiling fans to go counter-clockwise
- Sealing doors and windows to keep warm air in and cold air out
- Turning off outside hoses and faucets and insulating pipes to prevent freezing
- Checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re functioning properly
- Cleaning drains in sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers to prevent clogging and ice build-up
- Changing the filters, cleaning the burners, and checking the gas line on your gas furnace
As you implement these suggestions for keeping your home warm while being mindful of your budget, perform regular energy audits to see if they’re working. Look at your energy bills each month during the winter to see if they’re getting lower or are, at the very least, manageable.
Continue to make adjustments throughout the season to get your utility costs to where you want them to be.
Incorporate cozy interior design elements
As vital as it is for you to perform all of the practical home maintenance suggestions above, it’s also essential for you to incorporate cozy interior design elements to facilitate warmth and comfort.
Try the following winter decor ideas to keep your family warm and relaxed inside until the sun and hotter temperatures resume in the spring:
- Use warm lighting
- Create cozy corners and nooks
- Change out everyone’s bedding to accommodate winter temperatures
- Put pillows and fleece throw blankets around the house
- Use a cozy color scheme, like red, cream, and emerald green
- Add touches of wood and natural elements
How comfy your home feels during winter has a lot to do with how you decorate its interior. So, take pride in the cozy interior design elements you incorporate.
Tend your home’s exterior as well
The outside of your home can take a beating from the winter weather. So, just like your interior, the exterior of your home needs to be ready for the season.
Weatherproofing your home’s exterior includes the following duties:
- Repairing walkways
- Touching up exterior paint
- Inspecting and repairing your roof
- Doing what you need to keep pests and rodents away
- Clearing your gutters so they’re ready for rain and snowfall
- Ensuring your front yard and driveway are well-lit to accommodate the long nights
- Preparing your backyard for winter by tending to your lawn, garden, and deck
Keep an eye on your home’s exterior throughout the winter months to help further protect the inside of your home and keep it warm and cozy.
Ensure your family’s winter is an enjoyable one this year by properly preparing your home for what’s to come.