December started out with a gorgeous 74 degree day and the temps have been pretty mild ever since. Hovering near the 50s in December isn’t too shabby. Just think, we could be in upstate New York with more than SEVEN FEET of white stuff already this year! While the weather is still bearable, take advantage and get your home winterized. Our share of cold weather is surely coming!
These easy winterizing tasks for your home and yard are easy to do and will keep you out of the elements once winter really comes through.
- Protect your pipes. Check for and fix leaks, replace any wet insulation, eliminate drafts near pipes and wrap or cover outside faucets. This is especially important for unheated areas of your home such as the garage or crawl space. Keeping your water pipes dry and warm will prevent pipes from bursting and a bill from the plumber!
- Find your shut off valve. In the event of a burst water pipe, you do not want to be scrambling to locate the master water shut off valve! Find it now and save yourself the hassle.
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses.Time to hang up those hoses until spring! Packing away your garden hose will prevent damage from freezing temperatures and may decrease your chances of bursting a water pipe.
- Trim back dead plants. After the first few frosts, cutting back the dead growth on your plants will improve your curb appeal. But don’t yank plants out by the roots. Most perennials (and even some annuals) will survive the winter and grow again next season.
- Disconnect and store rain barrels. Freezing weather can damage rain barrels. Protect them by removing the plug, opening the valve and draining all the water out. Clean dirt and debris from the bottom and store it inside a shed or garage. If no indoor storage is available, simply flip the rain barrel upside down to keep water out of the barrel.
- Stock up on eco-friendly deicer. When it comes to deicing, there’s the good, the bad and the just plain ugly! Pick deicers that are less harmful on the environment and stock up now so you aren’t left with only ‘ugly’ options.
- Seal in the warmth. Keeping cold air out and warm air in is the best way to have an efficient household heating system this year. Simply seal air leaks around windows and doors with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping to improve your comfort and reduce your household heating bill.
- Program your thermostat. Using a programmable thermostat helps control your home’s temperature while you’re out or asleep. You’ll save about 10 percent on your heating and cooling bill each year if you turn your thermostat down by 10 to 15 degrees for the eight hours while you sleep. The recommended temperature setting is 68 degrees while you are home and 58 degrees while you are out or asleep.
- Put ceiling fans to use. Set your ceiling fan to move clockwise so hot air is pushed towards the floor and closer to you.
- Pack an emergency kit. Hurricane season isn’t the only time you need an emergency kit. Snow and ice can knock out power or make it too dangerous to travel on secondary roads. Make sure you have supplies on hand at all times including batteries, flashlights, food, water and activities for the kids. For more winter preparedness tips before, during, and after extreme cold, check out ReadyHamptonRoads.org.
Stay warm, Hampton Roads!