5 Tips to Prep Your Home for Winter

Wintertime can be a joyous time of the year, but with that comes cold temperatures, and in many cases, snow and ice. No matter where you live, it is always important to protect your home against the harsh weather that comes with winter. Winterizing key spots in your home, such as the basement and crawl space areas, is a great way to reduce energy costs and protect your home against damaging and potentially problems like water damage.

Clean Gutters and Extend Downspouts

Gutters may not be a part of the basement or crawl space. However, clogged gutters are a very common cause of water leaking into the basement or crawl space. When water is clogged at the gutters, it will then overflow and pool up next to the house. This will make the ground next to the foundation and become saturated, pressure then forces the water into the basement through cracks or gaps. Homeowners could also consider adding gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating in the gutter and extend your gutter downspouts out to at least 4 feet away.

Seal Basement Windows and Crawl Space Vents

In the winter, leaky basement windows can let in cold air, melting snow and ice, and moisture. Open crawl space vents do the same. If there are exposed pipes, this can increase the risk of the pipes freezing and bursting. If this is occurring, its best to take immediate action to seal gaps around the basement windows with caulk. Consider adding a window well cover to help keep water and moisture away from the window in question. Ensure that crawl space vents are properly sealed to keep cold air out and prevent frozen pipes.

Seal Ducts

Exposed ductwork in an uninsulated basement or crawl space will be the same temperature as the temperature of the air in the unconditioned space. In the winter, warm air inside the ducts is cooled by the cold ducts. This makes the furnace run longer and work harder to warm up the air. Leaky ducts are one of the most significant causes of high heating and cooling bills. Seal and insulate ducts in the basement to improve comfort and conserve energy. Consider insulating the foundation walls in the future if the ducting and walls are uninsulated. Uninsulated water pipes can freeze and burst in the winter, especially if there is no heat source either.