5 Simple Tips to Prepare Your Home For Winter

Winter is coming! And, with the recent drops in temperature and early snowfall, there’s no more avoiding it. It’s time to get prepared! Buying and selling real estate in Chicago and the South Loop doesn’t stop just because the season changes. It’s important to keep up with the maintenance of your home for yourself and future buyers! So I’ve put together a few tips to prepare your home for winter. Take care of business now so you can stay warm and cozy, avoid costly repairs, and spend your time enjoying the comfort of your Chicago home during our winter months!

 

1. Stop The Drafts and Keep It Warm

Chicago is the windy city! Whether you’re in a single-family home, townhome, loft, or high rise condo in a neighborhood like the South Loop, you can’t always escape the sudden changes in temperature and blustery gusts that hit the South Loop and communities along the lake. Check your home for air leaks, including windows, doors, and cracks in the walls.  Also inspect areas outside your home, including your balcony. This involves taking a good look at faucets and air vents. Drafts not only bring the chill inside but can also put a hole in your wallet causing a big drain on your heating bill. Consider adding weather stripping or door sweeps around and under exterior doors, caulk any gaps, and if applicable, install storm doors and windows. A draft stopper is a quick and easy way to stop drafts, especially those coming from your front door, garage access, or balcony.

Floor to ceiling windows offer striking views and lots of natural light in the South Loop. However, all that glass can make your condo feel colder in winter. In addition, while modern high-rises offer excellent insulation, lofts and older buildings may be lacking. If you want to keep the warm air in, consider using insulated curtains to keep the cold air outside! If drafts are really bad, invest in some self-stick plastic on windows you don’t use that often.

Reversing your ceiling fans can also help keep your home warm. Check for a switch to change them so they push the heated air down. Also, change your air filters to ensure optimum efficiency. Dirty filters can cause heating problems. 

 

2. Protect Your Pipes from Freezing and Bursting

Before you do anything else, unhook all your hoses from outside faucets. Then, drain and check your exterior pipes. Replace any parts that show signs of weakness or moisture. Also consider insulating exterior and basement pipes.

Preparing your home for winter should also include insulating pipes in your home that are near windows and doors or areas that are unheated. Make sure you know how to turn off your water in case pipes do freeze and burst. It’s also recommended to keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees (F). In fact, you should keep your heat on, even if you go out of town. This can help prevent your pipes from freezing and believe it or not, even save money on your heating bill. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to set temperatures for when you are home and away. 

You should also flush your hot water tank to remove sediment and insulate older hot water tanks to conserve energy and save money.

3. Clean Your Dryer Vents 

You may not realize it, but dryer vents can be a major fire hazard. In addition to cleaning your lint filter after each load, you should also clean the lint vent. You will be shocked at how much lint gathers here. These vents can be located at the back or front of the dryer. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for how to clean the vent.

4. Check Your Roof and Outdoor Lighting 

It’s important to do this before winter takes its toll. Make sure to clear your roof of debris including leaves and stray tree limbs. Also, trim limbs that could fall and damage your roof. Check for loose shingles and clear your gutters and downspouts. Leaves, sticks, etc., can prevent melting snow from draining and create ice dams which in turn can leak into your roof and cause damage. Check the seals around your chimney and vents. Consider hiring a chimney sweep to remove debris that could become a fire hazard. Make sure outside lighting is in working order. This is especially important as temperatures drop and sidewalks and driveways could be covered in snow and ice.

 

5. Be Prepared for Winter Storms and Emergencies 

You never know when the next big storm will hit. Protect your entryway and avoid slipping hazards with boot trays, rugs, and outdoor mats. Check your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should have a smoke alarm in every room, including hallways. It’s also a good idea to review your home insurance to ensure coverage for storm damage.

Make sure you are prepared for winter with a good supply of snow shovels, salt, window scrapers, batteries, flashlights, etc. Don’t forget to clear your decks and balconies after a snow storm. Check with your building management on how to do this if you live in a high-rise condo with a balcony. Make sure your snowblower is in working order.

Be prepared for outages. It may seem old-fashioned, but it’s smart to keep a battery-operated radio on hand if power goes out and you can’t recharge your phone or electronic devices. Keep a supply of bottled water and non-perishable food on hand so you don’t have to leave your house in terrible weather.

Prepare Your Home For Winter Now And Avoid Costly Repairs Later On

Keeping your home well maintained during any season will help you save money in the long run. Preparing your home for winter now means you can avoid costly repairs later on and be ready to go when you decide to sell your home. So, take care of this list today and then relax knowing you’ll be ready for a long Chicago winter!

 

This blog was first published on my website terribuseman.com on November 2, 2019

Terri Buseman

Your Real Estate Partner

signature_1301872435

 

Visit: TerriBuseman.com

Cell: 312 208 5166

cid:image002.png@01D48D81.E31E2C10cid:image003.png@01D48D81.E31E2C10 cid:image004.png@01D48D81.E31E2C10 cid:image005.png@01D48D81.E31E2C10 cid:image006.png@01D48D81.E31E2C10 cid:image007.png@01D48D81.E31E2C10 

 

Comment balloon 2 commentsTerri Buseman • November 05 2019 02:19AM
5 Simple Tips to Prepare Your Home For Winter
share
Winter is coming! And, with the recent drops in temperature and early snowfall, there’s no more avoiding it. It’s time to get prepared! Buying and selling real estate in Chicago and the South Loop doesn’t stop just because the season changes. It’s… more
10 Things To Do in Chicago Before The End Of Summer
share
Say it isn’t so. Summer is coming to an end. While Labor Day typically signals the beginning of fall, we actually have a few more weeks to enjoy summer temps and maybe a few sultry evenings. Fall doesn’t officially begin till Sept. 23. So look away… more
Hello July! The Start of Summer and Chicago Festivals
share
If you can’t count on the weather to tell you it’s summer in Chicago, the next best sign is the beginning of the festival season! While June hosts a number of events, July is really where it all begins. And, if we’re lucky, we can finally put away… more
Selling in Lakeview? Know Your Specific Market: Neighborhood Update
share
Start your Lakeview East home search here Lakeview East Housing Type: Condo Inventory is a little lower since our last report. More homes are selling in only a month or two. Some price ranges still have significantly more inventory than others,… more
DNAinfo Report Confirmed: Lincoln Park Neighborhood Update
share
Start your Lincoln Park home search here Lincoln Park Housing Type: Condo The DNAinfo article we mentioned in our last report was correct! Inventory is shrinking and it's most clear in the over $1m range where many homes sold in less than a month… more
Bucktown in Both Buyer's and Seller's Market: Neighborhood Update
share
Start your Bucktown home search here Bucktown Housing Type: Condo The surge of listings we talked about in our last report have already started to sell through. With homes continuing to sell in less than two months this neighborhood is… more
Seller's Market Likely to Last Winter: Wicker Park Neighborhood Update
share
Start your Wicker Park home search here Wicker Park Housing Type: Condo Condos continue to sell in around one or two months across the board. The month's supply of inventory has even dropped! December is traditionally one of the slowest months… more
Seller's Market Poised To Continue in Old Town: Neighborhood Update
share
Start your Old Town home search here Old Town & Old Town Triangle Housing Type: Condo A noticeable number of condos have gone under contract since our last report which will push the seller's market into the winter. Most homes are selling… more
Fast & Slow Sales in University Village: Neighborhood Update
share
Start your University Village/Little Italy home search here University Village/Little Italy Housing Type: Condo A few quick sales have practically demolished the little bit of inventory this market had The homes that closed in the $400-500k… more
West Loop Condo Market Great for Buyers & Sellers: Neighborhood…
share
Start your West Loop home search here West Loop Housing Type: Condo Sellers in the $400-500k range are clearly taking advantage of this hot market we've been watching Homes are selling in just about a month, but they are also being listed at… more