By Samantha Grose, designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO

The wind is blowing, the temperature is steadily dropping, and the last of the flowers are looking dull and weary. It’s undeniable—winter is right around the corner. You’re probably already packing away your sandals and shorts and exchanging them for boots and winter coats, but have you thought much about your home?

Before winter strikes, there are a few key things you should do to prepare for the frigid temperatures, ice, and snow. These steps can help preserve the integrity of your home’s structure and can help save you money in the long run. Winterizing your home might sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are actually several easy projects you can tackle on your own that will help your home stay warm and cozy over the long winter months.

JP&CO winter landscape
1. Clean the gutters

 

Dirty, clogged gutters can cause ice buildup, resulting in heavy, damaging icicles or even ice dams. Make sure you remove all debris from your gutters (especially after the trees have lost their leaves) and give your gutters a thorough rinse with a hose. That way, water and melted snow can flow freely through the gutter system.

2. Seal the leaks

 

According to Hydro One, up to 40% of home heat loss is due to air leakage, and if you added up all the cracks and leaks in the average home it would be like having a hole in your wall the size of a basketball! Leaks are common in areas such as recessed lighting, windows and doors, electrical outlets, or anywhere utilities enter the home. Find leaks by lighting a stick of incense and slowly moving it around the periphery of your home. If it glows brighter and the smoke blows away, you have a leak.

 

Keep your home warm! Photo credit: jezebel.com

Keep your home warm! Photo credit: jezebel.com

3. Check the furnace filter

One step that is often overlooked is checking and replacing the furnace filter. An old, dirty filter can restrict airflow and cause your furnace to work harder to pump heat into your home. Standard filters should be replaced once a month during the winter, but some filters (like electrostatic filters) are permanent and need only be cleaned on occasion.

 

 

4. Reverse your ceiling fan

Did you know that your ceiling fan’s counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while its clockwise mode actually makes your home warmer? A clockwise rotation causes the warm air pooled near the ceiling to circulate back into the living space, cutting your heating costs by as much as 10%. Most fans come equipped with a switch above the light fixtures that allows you to change its direction with the simple click of a button.

5. Insulate your pipes

It is important your water pipes are well-wrapped when winter comes. Bare pipes result in heat loss and have a cooling effect on the water passing through them. That means your boiler will have to work harder and your morning shower will probably take longer to heat up. The easiest way to wrap your pipes is to purchase pre-slit pipe foam at the hardware store, but for bendy or difficult-to-reach pipes, you might have to wrap them with foil or fiberglass insulation. Just remember to cover the pipe completely and seal the end with heavy-duty tape.

 

Don’t forget about your home as the breezy autumn days begin to grow chilly. Set aside some time to prepare for winter and reassure your home is safe and energy-efficient. Many winterization steps, like the ones we listed above, can be performed in a matter of minutes and cost very little to do. However, bear in mind that some things (like tuning your furnace or cleaning your chimney) are best left to the experts. Good luck winterizing your home and stay warm!

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Samantha Grose, Associate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO

Author: Samantha

Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.

Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.

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Written by Samantha

Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the...
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