Winterizing Your House

December 16, 2008
Tips For Winterizing Your Home

Tips For Winterizing Your Home

Furnace Inspection

  • Consider getting your furnace (HVAC) inspected by a professional
  • Remove all combustible materials away from the furnace
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  • Change your furnace filters monthly


  • Cap your chimney to keep out rodents and birds
  • Contact a chimney sweep if your chimney hasn't been cleaned in awhile (especially important if you use your fireplace regularly, creosote builds up and becomes a fire hazard)
  • Inspect your damper for proper opening/closing

Doors And Windows

  • Inspect exterior doors and windows for cracks-seal
  • Install weather stripping
  • Replace cracked glass
  • Cover windows with plastic to seal out cold air


  • Install extra insulation in attic if temperatures regularly fall below 32 degrees
  • Check flashing to assure water cannot enter your home
  • Clean debris out of gutters
  • Clear debris away from downspouts-spray with a hose to flush out anything caught in the downspout


  • Rake away all leaves and vegetation
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from entering the house or nesting under your foundation
  • Inspect for pest infestation
  • Secure crawlspace entrances


  • Drain gas from your lawn mower
  • Winterize boat
  • Tune-up or service snow blowers
  • Replace rakes and/or snow shovels
  • Purchase icemelt, sand or kitty litter

Smoke Detector/Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Test to make sure they work
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace yours if it is greater than 10 years old
By Diana from Prospect, KY
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More Solutions

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Free home winterization and free lightbulbs: In many areas your power company may provide low income homeowners with a free winterization home inspection and certain power-saving fixes for the home. In other areas they may provide winterization kits for your windows free.

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4 Questions

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I forgot to winterize my garden hoses, they are still attached to the outside faucets of the house. It's been snowing and in the 20s for days now. What should I do? I'm afraid of my pipes freezing.

By Kathy from Wooster, OH


January 7, 20100 found this helpful

Take the hose off & drain them-
Many homes have an interior shutoff valve for exterior faucets; typically located on the interior wall of the house, directly behind the exterior faucet. The valve will either be a gate valve (round, wheel-shaped), or a ball valve (one with a lever).

Turn a gate valve clockwise to shut off the water supply to the outdoor water faucet; turn a ball valve a quarter turn. If the valve is difficult to turn, apply a lubricating spray, and then turn with an adjustable wrench.

A cold weather cover will provide extra protection. Try this: cut a hole in the center of the cover to an empty plastic butter or margarine tub, large enough to fit over the faucet. Place the lid over the faucet, the lid top should be against the house. Secure the lid to the house siding using screws or tacks.

Wrap a strip of fiberglass pipe insulation around the faucet, and secure with masking tape. Push the plastic tub over the faucet, and snap it onto the lid.

How to Install Insulating Tube on Interior Water Pipes
The quickest, easiest method of insulating exposed interior water pipes is to use insulating tube made for that purpose. This will help prevent frozen pipe problems caused by prolonged freezing temperatures. Use insulating tube on exposed pipes under the sink, against outer walls, and in the basement.

One great feature of this type insulation is that you do not need to remove it after winter. In fact, leaving the insulating tube on pipes year-round makes your home more energy efficient. It reduces energy used by the water heater to heat cold water. It also reduces noisy pipe sounds.

Interior pipe insulating tubes come in a variety of lengths, diameters, and materials. Therefore, measure length and diameter of pipes before purchasing tubes. Standard-sized residential pipes are &frac;-inch and &frac;-inch.

Insulating tubes are pre-slit down the center; simply place around the pipe, peel off the tape located on both edges, and stick them together as you work your way down the length of the tube.

Use a utility knife to cut the tube to fit the length of pipes, and duct tape to cover seams of connecting tubes. Caulk and/or weather strip around pipe entry points that travel through exterior walls.
good luck.

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January 9, 20100 found this helpful

Excellent advise! Thank you very much! I especially like the butter tub idea!

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January 13, 20100 found this helpful

I have mine covered and they froze solid but I have not had any pipes to burst.

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November 13, 2009

I'm new to this, but was wondering if anyone had tips on winterizing an old house, i.e. windows, etc.?

By Jamerson


November 13, 20090 found this helpful

Okay, quick temporary way. Get Frost King Window covers. The thicker ones you can't see through but they work better than the see through heat to fit type. BTW the thick ones go outside on your window; they are nailed into the frame. The shrink to fit type are put on inside with double sided tape around the frame. For a really bad widow you could do both (I did).
Permanent costly fix - replace your windows the double pane windows.
Another option - get window film, there are some companies that sell them by the roll or there are installers that have it by the roll. Most popular window film right now is for cars and available at car part/accessory stores. If you are in a fairly warm climate area get darker tint, if you are in a moderate to cold area get a lighter tint.

Heating in general. If you have room for it get a wood stove or pellet stove. In some areas there are places where you can get wood for free, you just have to haul it. Either stove will greatly reduce your heat bill (electric, oil or propane). There are also newer stove designs to check into that I am unfamiliar with you can check out - Amish stove, for one. Good luck

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

You can buy various thicknesses of clear plastic on the bolt at Super Walmart Stores and is much cheaper than the kits.
Thermal insulated panels also help to keep rooms warmer in winter and cooler in summer. You can get a variety of window film patterns that also block out UV rays, add privacy and provide protection from some heat loss at Lowe's and Home Depot for about $30.00 and diy or have professionally done which is expensive.

You can buy weather stripping that works well around window frames and doors. Check for drafts around windows and doors and use caulking to help. (comes in clear and white) or use insulating spray foam in a can to help insulate and seal. Trim off excess evenly against wall/framework.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

Are your walls/attic insulated? If they are not, this will make a huge difference in your heat bill. I know because we bought a huge house last year built in 1900. It had no insulation in the walls! None! There was some in the attic. Our first bill was around 450.00 for heat. We had our walls insulated by a professional and the very next heat bill was 220! That was during the beginning of our ice storm here in Illinois and is was cold, freezing cold for weeks. Hope this helps you too!

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November 20, 20090 found this helpful

You really need to go around the house and make a list of all the problem areas. (We're in year three of ours and still fixing here and there!). Insulation should be first, then sealing drafts--check the bottom of doors, too, as you can buy sweeps that block the air flow. Plastic is good covering, as are thick drapes.

We have double hung windows that actually move in and out a little so we put wood blocks inside the sill, between the screen and window, to keep the inside window pushed in. You have to get creative.

Here's more:

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