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“Winterization” is a common, albeit trendy, term you hear a lot nowadays.  What does it mean and why would you need to “winterize” the house – shouldn’t it just be inherent in the home?  The answer is: not necessarily. Snowbirds winterize their homes when they head south for the winter, however if you’re in North Carolina and you just want to make your home function better in winter, winterization is a great idea.  The process of winterization involves many steps including things you can do to mitigate utility loss and make the home more comfortable as well as prevent potential damage to your home and possessions.  

  •  One of the most common winterization tasks is simply removing water from pipes.  If you have a pool, you can’t let water freeze in your pipes or they might burst, same goes for simply garden hoses and sprinkler systems.  You must go through the process of flushing water out of areas it shouldn’t be or you’ll find that repairs can become thousands of dollars.
  • Test your furnace before you really need it.  Adjust your thermostat to activate the furnace and make sure it not only turns on but supplies sufficient heat through the vents.  In the event you live in a rural home, you may have a propane tank for heating – verify it is full, propane is much cheaper in the summer than the winter.
  • Fix leaky windows – This is an obvious one, leaky windows simply let in tons of cold air and drafts.  Fixing the leaks in the windows isn’t too difficult either and there are a couple of proven methods.  The best is to use a caulk on the exterior where the window meets the exterior siding.  If the window has trim, caulk between the trim and siding and in various gaps where you believe there could be airflow.  Another option, especially for second-story windows is simply to use a malleable, clay-like substance called Mortite.  It will allow you to close up gaps, especially in old windows and is easy to peel off when you want to open the window again.
  • Install an additional window barrier.  You may have seen windows with plastic over the outside, this is just an additional barrier against the cold.  This plastic can be placed over the window on the inside or outside, however it is easier and less prone to damage on the inside.  The best barrier types are the “shrink film” variety where the plastic is stretched across the window frame and then shrunk with heat via a hair dryer to provide a tight fit.
  • Check for leaks at doors.  Exterior doors are opened and closed many times per day and sometimes they have significant openings even when closed.  Check your doors at the bottom especially, there are literally hundreds of seals that fit onto the bottom of your door to create a better seal that cost between $10-$20.  

Those are some of the important ways “winterization” can be accomplished.  They’re all inexpensive and are usually completed during the course of a weekend.  It’s important to note, the majority of utility costs with homes are heating and cooling and these tasks will aid in keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Also remember, if you come to the point that you’re trying to seal windows and it doesn’t seem to work, you may need replacement windows.  Give us a call if you have any questions!