With weather experts forecasting an El Nino winter in 2023, now is a good time to start thinking about how to best prepare the house for winter. Even in locations where winter is usually mild, an El Nino can make things unpredictable. Shoring up your home for colder than average temperatures or heavier precipitation than you’re used to is important for protecting your home and maximizing energy efficiency. But it can also help you maintain curb appeal in case you’ll be looking to sell in the near future.
If you’re an old pro with cold weather, this isn’t news to you. But if you’ve recently relocated from a southern state to a more northern one (like our very own Ohio!) here are some tips for getting your home ready for the coming season.
How to Best Prepare the House for Winter: Shoring up the Exterior
The exterior of your home has a huge impact on its value. Whether you’re looking to sell soon or plan on staying where you are for years to come, maintaining your home’s value is still in the best interest of every homeowner.
The first thing you need to take care of is your roof. Damaged and leaky roofs can deter potential buyers, and cause a lot of headaches for homeowners. A visual inspection is a good start, but the best option is to hire a roofing professional to perform an inspection and take care of any minor issues such as missing shingles, flashing issues, or signs of water damage.
Gutters, Doors, and Windows
Another thing you can do to prevent water damage is make sure your gutters have been cleaned and repaired. Be sure to clear your gutters of all debris, like dirt and dried leaves, and check them for any damage or loose connections.
Your windows and doors are next. Energy-efficient homes are extremely attractive to homeowners and potential buyers alike. Check for drafts around windows, seal any gaps with weatherstripping or caulking, and consider thermal curtains or plastic window film to enhance insulation.
Finally, it is possible to maintain your yard even in the winter. Make sure you prune overgrown trees and shrubs to prevent damage from heavy snow or ice. You can also remove dead leaves and debris to prevent mold growth. And it’s not a bad idea to plant winter-friendly plants to maintain curb appeal.
How to Best Prepare the House for Winter: Heating and Plumbing
With the exterior of your home taken care of, it’s time to turn your attention to the heating, insulation, and plumbing in your home. These are easily overlooked by many homeowners but can significantly impact how well your home handles the winter months.
Furnace, HVAC, and Insulation
To make sure your home will be sufficiently heated for colder temperatures, schedule a professional HVAC inspection to ensure your heating system is functioning properly. It’s also a good time to replace air filters and consider a duct cleaning service.
Next, check the insulation in your attic, walls, and crawl spaces for any signs of deterioration and add or replace where needed. Don’t forget the windows and doors. Be sure to seal any gaps or cracks with weatherstripping or caulking.
Plumbing is one thing most homeowners don’t think about and the consequences can be drastic. Pipes that freeze and burst can cause significant water damage in nearly every area of your home. Make sure that all pipes are insulated, particularly if they’re in unheated parts of the home. It’s also best practice to keep faucets on a drip during extremely cold nights to keep the water from freezing.
You’ll also want to take care of your water heater with a flush to clear sediments and ensure efficient operation.
How to Best Prepare the House for Winter: Safety, Energy Efficiency, and Property Value
Finally, winterizing your home is important to keeping your house safe, energy efficient, and to making sure you don’t lose property value.
Winter Home Safety
Safety is especially important if your home has a fireplace and chimney. You’ll want to be sure to have your chimney professionally cleaned and to remove creosote buildup and make it safer to use. It’s also a good idea to stock up on seasoned firewood for those times when the power may go out.
There are also some claims that home invasions and burglaries may increase over the holidays. It’s always a good time to either upgrade your security system or run a test to make sure alarms, sensors, cameras, and smart locks are working as intended.
Energy Efficiency and Property Value
The last step in preparing your home for winter is double-checking your energy efficiency and keeping up curb appeal. Alongside shoring up your home’s insulation and sealing any gaps in windows and doors, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs can help you conserve energy. Since you’ll be using lights more in the winter, when daylight hours are fewer, this can make a big difference to your energy usage (and bills!)
And last but not least, there are a few things you can do to make sure your property value stays intact all year round. We already mentioned winter landscaping. Planting evergreen trees and shrubs can add color and appeal. And including decorations around the entrance, like wreaths and lights, can lend a cozy, homey feel that is very attractive in cold months.
Trust CENTURY 21 Bolte Real Estate to Help You Find Your Winter-Ready Home
At CENTURY 21 Bolte Real Estate, we’ve been serving the North Central Ohio area for more than 80 years. Our team of professional real estate agents are passionate about helping our clients find the perfect home, or make the best sale possible. With deep roots in our communities and expert knowledge on the Ohio housing market, we’re ready to be your partners in real estate. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, get in touch with us today to learn more.