Wintertime can be a beautiful, celebratory few months full of snow-dusted lawns and plenty of holiday magic. But without a little preparation, cold weather can wreak havoc on a house. Before you snuggle down for the season with a cup of cocoa and a favorite book in hand, follow these four tips for winterizing your home’s exterior.
Tip #1: Insulate Exterior Plumbing
Make sure your pipes are prepared for freezing weather by adding pipe insulation covers. Frozen pipes may burst, and nothing puts a damper on the holiday spirit like dealing with that mess! While a burst exterior pipe may not flood your home, it can cause serious damage to the plumbing, create a leak within the walls, and even heighten the risk of termite infestation. Steer clear by using insulating wrap or duct tape.
Tip #2: Check the Roof
Although it may seem like a pain to get up on your roof, it’s worth the peace of mind knowing that there are no loose shingles or holes. Although a squirrel or bat may appreciate the warm hidey-hole in your attic, you (and your energy bill) will not. Don’t forget to do a sweep for large branches and leaves in your gutters while you’re up there!
Tip #3: Do a General Inspection
Winter is prime time for slips and falls around your house. Loose cobblestones, wobbly steps, and unstable handrails are all extra threatening when they’re hidden by a layer of frost or snow, so it’s a good idea to give your porch, sidewalks, and driveway a solid once-over before the first freeze. A little handiwork in the fall can save you from serious accidents down the road.
Tip #4: Double Check Your Doors
One of the fastest ways to run up your energy bill is to ignore air leaks around your doors. If your doors are not sealed properly, cold air can creep in from outside, and heated air from inside can leach out. This often happens to older doors from the wear and tear of daily use, and even newer doors and doorframes that haven’t been well maintained. Air leaks are an especially common problem at the door between the home and the garage, because these aren’t usually sealed as well as exterior doors.
If your door is in good shape, it may simply be time to install new weather stripping. This is the compressible plastic material that runs along the edge of the door. With time and use, it loses elasticity as well as its sealing capabilities. Weather stripping is a relatively inexpensive replacement, and one you can find easily at your local hardware store.
PRO TIP: Even if you do not need to replace your weather stripping, be sure to check the doorway or sliding-glass track for small stones, chunks of dirt, and other debris. Run a vacuum cleaner along the bottom to make sure there’s nothing blocking a good, tight seal. (Sealing cracks and gaps and adding insulation to exterior doors can save up to 10% on your home energy bill!)
However, if your door is aged to the point of being damaged or warped, the air leaks may be caused by a poor fit in the door frame - and one that's beyond repair. If that's the case, it's time for an upgrade. Find a style you love by shopping our range of exterior doors now!