As the leaves begin to turn and the air grows crisp, it's time to start preparing your home for the winter season. From checking your heating system to protecting your floors and windows, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure your home is warm, cozy, and safe during the colder months.
First thing first, declutter
To begin with, set aside some time to tidy up your space. Clutter can make it harder to clean and take up valuable space in your home and your mind.
As you declutter, you may also come across items that you can rotate based on the season. For example, you can put away summer items like swimsuits and beach towels and bring out winter items like blankets and warm clothing.
For items that you no longer use, no longer fit, or don't bring you joy, consider donating them to a charity of your choice, offering them in a local buy-nothing group, or selling them online on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Poshmark.
Once the clutter is gone and you're ready to put away the winter items, take a few minutes to dust the area and clean the surfaces to make sure your drawers and shelves are fresh for the season.
Smart Thermostat & HVAC Checkup
Installing a smart thermostat before winter can help you save money on energy costs, reduce your carbon footprint, and keep your home at a comfortable temperature when you need it most. Smart thermostats can automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule and preferences, and can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app.
Additionally, it's important to make sure your heating system is in good working order. Replace your air filters, hire a professional to clean your air ducts and vents to improve air circulation and prevent the build-up of allergens, and have a professional check your furnace and other heating equipment to ensure it is operating safely. Furnaces should be maintained on a yearly basis, so it's best to take care of any necessary maintenance before the winter season to avoid the risk of being waitlisted without heat.
Prepare the fireplace
If you have a fireplace, it's important to get it ready for the winter season. For wooden fireplaces, clean off any debris and cobwebs, and make sure that your firebox is clear of flammable materials. Check your chimney for any obstructions and fill in any cracks with mortar. If you have a gas fireplace, check the pilot light, clean the burners, inspect the gas lines and venting system, and have a professional inspect the fireplace at least once a year.
To protect your carpet and flooring, use a rug or protective sheeting near the fireplace. You can also store your logs in covered baskets or use a log holder to keep them organized and off the floor.
Don’t overlook your windows
Don't forget about your windows! Make sure your window seals are clean and dry, and consider replacing any damaged seals. Inspect your windows for any cracks or leaks, and use caulk or weatherstripping to seal any gaps. This will help prevent drafts and keep your home warm and energy efficient.
If you have older windows that are difficult to seal, consider using window film or insulating curtains to help reduce heat loss. In addition, check that your window hardware is functioning properly and that your windows open and close easily.
If you have window screens, remove them for the winter to allow more sunlight in and to reduce the risk of damage from wind and snow. You can also add draft stoppers or door snakes to the bottom of doors to help prevent drafts. Finally, if you have windows that are prone to condensation, make sure to ventilate your home properly to reduce humidity and moisture buildup.
Protect your floors
Mud and stains from visitors and pets can shorten the lifespan of your floors and create a mess in your home. To protect your floors during the winter, consider using doormats at entrances and placing protective sheets or rugs in high traffic areas. You can also remove your shoes before entering your home to help prevent dirt and mud from being tracked in.
In addition, you may want to invest in a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to help remove dirt and allergens from your carpets and upholstery. Regular vacuuming can help extend the life of your floors and keep your home clean and healthy.
You should also consider using a floor protector or area rug under furniture to prevent scratches and scuff marks on your floors. Finally, make sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning and maintenance instructions for your specific flooring type to ensure it stays in good condition.
Restock your supplies
In addition to cleaning and organizing your home, there are a few other things you can do to prepare for winter. Make sure you have enough non-perishable food and supplies in case of emergencies, and consider stocking up on winter essentials like rock salt or sand to help with traction on icy sidewalks and driveways.
You may also want to invest in a good snow shovel and some warm winter clothing and boots. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and make sure they are working properly.
It's also a good idea to have an emergency kit on hand in case of power outages or other emergencies. Your kit should include items like flashlights, extra batteries, a first aid kit, blankets, and a portable phone charger.
By taking the time to prepare your home for winter, you can ensure that you and your family are warm, comfortable, and safe throughout the colder months. Whether you spend your days cozied up by the fireplace or enjoying winter activities outdoors, a well-prepared home will make the season even more enjoyable.