November has arrived and winter is just around the corner. If you haven’t done so, it is now time to winterize your home, especially if your house will be vacant over the winter! Most people will remember to shut off the water at the exterior and open up all the faucets, drain the toilets, empty out the fridge and freezer and lower the thermostats. But winterizing should go beyond that.
Little crumbs, unclean trash cans and even soaps and candles can attract insects and vermin. Clean out all food from pantries or store it in vermin proof containers. Lock up soaps and candles as well. Vacuum all the carpets in the house and especially the nooks and crannies in your kitchen and dining areas. Wash the fridge and freezer thoroughly and prop the doors open to prevent mildew and mold from growing. And of course remember to remove any trash from inside the house.
Wash all linens and blankets and then store them in boxes (preferably rodent proof), strip the beds to let the mattresses air out over the winter. Open up drawers and closet doors or use mothballs.
Lock your house at each entry point. Remove all valuables or store them in a way that they are not visible from a window. Put a couple of lights on a timer to make it look like someone is home. If you have shutters or blinds use them. Unplug all appliances to prevent fire hazard from a faulty switch or a rodent gnawing on wires.
The outside of the house sometimes gets neglected when it comes to winterizing. Store all your lawn furniture in a dry location, or if no storage is available cover them up to prevent them from getting wet. Mow your lawn and trim your shrubbery. Cover up any plants that are not frost tolerant. Stow away bicycles, kayaks and canoes. Leave nothing outdoors that could be blown away by the wind.
I know this is a lot of information and it isn’t even all of it. I found most it on How to Winterize a Vacant Home, check it out for more in depth tips and tricks.
If you stay put during the winter there are different things to consider for your home. Have your heating system checked out and change any filters if necessary. If you heat with wood, make sure you have an annual chimney sweep done to prevent creosote or animal nests from creating a fire hazard. Check your windows and doors for drafts. Weather-stripping or installing storm doors and windows can prevent cold air from entering and heat from escaping.
Energy saving measures are always a good idea as well. Program the thermostat for different temperatures when you are home and when you are not. Consider keeping the temperature under 72 degrees, use blankets and sweaters when you are home. Change your bulbs to LED bulbs wherever you can and consider using a water heater blanket.
Insulate your pipes to prevent them from bursting. If there is a cold snap, open up one or two of your faucets to drip, this can help prevent them from freezing. Empty out bird baths and fountains outside, frozen water can break almost anything. Take in plants that are not frost tolerant.
Winterizing sounds like a lot of work, but if you are organized and prepared it can be done in a day or two. Not having to worry about your home or second house will make your winter that much more enjoyable!