Weekend Project: Preparing Your Home For Winter

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As much as we don’t want to mention it, winter is around the corner. If you remember, last winter brought extra low temperatures and increased heating bills. It is never good when you receive an unexpected $600 heating bill in January or when you wake up in the middle of the night to a burst pipe. Or when you realize in spring that your patio furniture is ruined. Proper winterization can prevent these situations and more.

shutterstock_165134429Patio Furniture

    • Clean: Before you store your furniture, it’s best to clean it first. By mixing warm water with a car wash solution, scrub furniture with a soft brush, rinse with water and let air-dry. If you notice the furniture is starting to rust, rub it off with a scouring pad. Wash cushions and store them completely clean and dry to prevent rot and mold.
    • Store: Hardwood furniture (heavy stuff) can stay outside. Soft woods (pine or cedar) need to come indoors or be covered. If your furniture is aluminum, the heavyweight variety can be left outside; lightweight versions have to be moved indoors. Store plastic or wicker indoors as well.
  • Cover: Anything that’s staying outdoors needs a breathable cover (Gore-Tex-like fabric) to keep moisture from coming in, while allowing moisture trapped inside to escape.


    • Turn off water: Find the indoor water shutoff for ALL outside lines and turn it off. Turn on the spigots and empty them, including emptying out hoses and storing them indoors. If you have an irrigation system, hire a professional to use an air compressor to empty the water lines so they don’t burst.
    • Aerate and seed: Aerating allows grass to get more water and grow further into the colder months. If seeding is needed, do it NOW while the temperatures are still warm.
    • Fertilize: Fertilize the lawn around Thanksgiving to keep your landscape in good condition for the winter months.
  • Mulch flowers: Clear away sticks and leaves, pull up dead plants and use a rake to aerate the soil. Mulch your flowerbeds, which also prevent pests from living in them.


    • Clean: Take a plastic bucket with you, climb a ladder and use gloves to remove debris. Consider getting gutter guards to use year-round to block out the gunk.
  • Check for moss: Moss and algae grow very slowly, but can cause a lot of damage to your roof.


  • Seal: To prevent damage to your wallet, it’s recommended to seal your chimney every five years.


    • Program thermostats: Set the thermostat to click on every time the daytime temperature drops to a certain temperature. By only turning up your thermostat when you’re home, you can save as much as 30% on your heating bill.
    • Replace filters: Change the filters in your furnace. Dirty filters force the system to chug, wasting energy and costing you more money.
    • Clear the path: Make sure no furniture is placed within three feet of space heaters or radiators.


    • Caulk: Seal the gap on windows with caulk or foam sealant.
    • Insulate water pipes: Look for uninsulated hot water pipes running along the walls or ceiling. Polystyrene insulation slips right over the pipe, so your hot water heater doesn’t need to work as hard.
    • Insulate the water heater: Adding a “blanket” to your hot water heater keeps the heat in and your hot water heater won’t have to work as hard.
  • Block dormant fireplaces: If you’re not using a fireplace, block it off.

With a little bit of preparation, you can save money this winter!

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Categories: DIY, Home Improvement, Homeowner, How to, Real Estate Tips, Shorewest Tips

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