Winterize a Home for the Cold Weather Ahead

November is the perfect time to start winterizing a home to prepare it for the cold weather ahead. Homeowners can save on heating bills, as well as preserve the condition of a home to protect their investment, by following these tips.

  • Install Storm Doors & Windows: This can increase energy efficiency by 45 percent. Check to make sure no drafts are getting through once they are up.
  • Check for Drafts: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5-30 percent of the energy used. Inspect door seals or get a draft snake to lay on the floor against an outside door. Seal drafty windows with plastic kits for a quick fix. Remember that drafts give a thermostat a false reading.
  • Change Filters: Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. In winter months, filters should be changed monthly. Dirty filters could damage or shorten the lifespan of a furnace, resulting in expensive repairs or replacement.
  • Use Ceiling Fans: Run a ceiling fan in reverse to redistribute warm air that rises. Be sure the fan’s blades rotate clockwise to get the heating effect.
  • Prep A/C and Water Lines: Drain garden hoses and air conditioner pipes and make sure there isn’t water pooled in equipment. Turn off or insulate exterior spigots.
  • Get a Furnace Tune Up: Many utilities offer free annual checkups by qualified technicians but call right away since they get busy when cold weather hits. Some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer free or discounted inspections.
  • Add Insulation: Check walls, attic and basement to make sure there is sufficient insulation. Insulating pipes can help decrease the chance of freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation. Foam insulation pipe sleeves are available at hardware stores or home centers. Cut to size and hold in place with duct tape.
  • Seal Ducts: Studies show 10-30 percent of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from ducts. It may be worth it to hire a professional to seal up leaks.

Helen Oliveri is the managing broker of the Keller Williams Realty Partners in Hawthorn Woods, 101 W. Gilmer Road.  To learn more go to or call 847.967.0022.