[This article first appeared here in December 2018 and has been revised and expanded.]
Getting your house and your property ready for the winter weather is one of the more challenging tasks for many homeowner.
This is especially true in many parts of the country since it means getting for some brutal weather that brings heavy snow and long freezes.
December 21st Officially Rings In Winter - And It Can Be Brutal
It's "the most wonderful time of the year" and it's time to be ready for winter and the harsh effects of ice and snow. For some, of course, winter weather means little more than rain and occasionally chilly days and nights. Southern California, Hawaii, and various locales throughout the Deep South and Southwestern states.
In fact according to a recent article, one-third of Americans have never built a snowman.
The story goes on to report,
"That’s according to a new poll of 2,000 people with travel plans this winter season, where travelers admitted they’ve never partaken in other winter activities such as skiing (42%), snowball fights (30%) or even drinking hot chocolate (24%).
More than half (55%) of all respondents regularly experience snow where they live and only 21% sometimes experience snow. Of the 25% who never experience snow, 54% have never seen it at all."
So, while there is a significant portion of the country that does not suffer through blizzard conditions and driveways buried under snow drifts, most of the folks in the United States do have cold and, in some cases, extremely cold, winters.
For those living in apartments and high-rise condominiums, "winterizing" usually consists of little more than making sure you've got the proper clothing and footwear. Oh, and being sure to stock up on extra hot chocolate and maybe some apple cider.
However, those who live in single-family homes often find that winter means eliminating gaps in windows and doors, breaking out the snow shovels and ice scrapers, and maybe even stocking up on rock salt for the front porch, driveway, and sidewalk in front of the house.
Of course, there are several more things that a homeowner or tenant should do to get their home ready for winter.
Winter Is Right Around the Corner - Is Your Home Ready?
If you’re a homeowner or you rent a house, there a number of things you should do to properly winterize your home.
This can range from stocking up on supplies to minimize trips to the store to clearing your
However, before the winter weather really sets in it's still a great time to finally do some cleaning up and maybe even get rid of that household junk you've been meaning to haul away. Along with that, if you have a large property with a number of trees and landscaping, you might find that you have large piles of limbs, trimmings, and leaves to get rid of as well.
While many people do indeed take advantage of the milder fall weather to clean their yards and collect junk items to be hauled away, the task of properly preparing your home should also be an early autumn task to be done before winter.
Yes, You Can “Winterize” Your Lawn
Fortunately, most lawns don’t typically need much done to them during the cold months of winter. Even if you don’t have snow, but your home is in a location that experiences frost and freezing temperatures, your lawn will most likely remain safely dormant until spring.
If you properly prepare your lawn during the last weeks of fall, it will be good until spring arrives. There are only a few things you should do until the lawn care season begins again in the spring:
Remove debris: Yard clean up means you should keep heavy objects, including branches and lawn furniture, off of the grass all year long. Objects left on the grass during cold weather can create large dead spots.
Stop or reduce watering: Cool season grasses will experience winter frost or dampness so the grass will not require additional watering. Warm season grasses won’t require additional watering since they go dormant in the winter months.
Don't aerate: Winter is not the best time to do this. Cool season grasses are usually aerated in the fall, and warm season grasses are usually aerated in the summer. Most grass types should not be aerated in the winter months.
Fertilizing: Because warm season grasses are dormant in the winter months they won’t require fertilization in winter. Likewise, cool season lawns also do not need fertilization in the winter months.
When to mow: After a final (and short) mowing in the late fall, both warm season and cool season lawns will require little to no mowing or edging during the winter months.
Weeding: If your lawn still has weeds and the ground isn’t too hard to pull them out, this can be a good time to remove any unwanted plants from the lawn.
There are possibly other tasks that you may need to take care of, as well, depending on where you live and what type of outdoor spaces your home has. Animals, livestock, and other considerations bring with them their own particular "winterizing" tasks.
And don't forget your pool or hot tub!
Winterizing Your Home Saves Money
After taking care of your lawns and landscaping, it's time to focus on your house. Not only can you help prevent ruptured pipes or damaged gutters by preparing the outside, but winterizing your home's interior can add up to a huge savings in both repair bills and energy bills.
But where should you start, and what can be done?
We've put together this handy infographic that provides checklist of a number of items for winterizing your home:
Other Things You Can Do Before Winter
Even if you are already getting cold weather now, you'll benefit by preparing for the rest of the season now. Here are some additional money-saving tips for winter weather preparation.
Cold Air Leaks
Air leaks in your home will allow warm air to escape out of any cracks and can make your heating system work harder, costing you more for heating the house. By adding or replacing weather-stripping around doors, you can minimize or prevent this from happening. Properly sealed doors means you cannot see any daylight from inside the doors.
Use caulk to seal cracks and openings between fixed components like door frames and use weather-stripping to seal moving fixtures like an operable window. Check the joints in window and door frames, and use silicone caulk for exterior use since it won't shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.
This graphic illustrates the common areas of a house that allow for cold air to leak into the structure and for warm air to escape:
[Graphic courtesy of Ameri Care Services]
Keep Your Gutters Cleaned
All the leaves and grime that keep building up in your gutters can lead to repeatedly clogged gutters and drains. Depending on where you live, the freezing rain and snow can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. Left undone, this can lead to water seeping into your home, which can lead to major repair issues.
Make a point of cleaning your gutters and drains as often as you can. When you do, check your gutters for misalignments that could also cause water damage. If you haven't already, you can still add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least three to four feet away from the foundation of your home.
Residential Furnaces Needs Upkeep, Too
Your furnace may be working overtime this year and the costs could be going up, as well. It's not too late to clean your system and get it inspected.
If you don't want to do it yourself, you can hire a pro. A technician can inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and running properly. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage. Also, during the winter you should change your filter regularly since a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency.
Keep Your Ducts Clean and Leak-free
Homes with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. If you are seeing dust on surfaces in your house soon after you just dusted and cleaned, it's a good sign that your air ducts need cleaning. Another sign the ducts need cleaning is if you see dark lines under doors or around air ducts. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them.
It is estimated that homeowners lose 25 to 40 percent in additional energy costs due to inefficient heating, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In the winter season, you can definitely benefit from added efficiency. In fact, properly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by over $100 on average.
Should You Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?
Many of the tasks to be done when winterizing your home can be done fairly easily yourself, or with the help of a friend or family member. However, some tasks, such as chimney cleaning or roof inspections, are usually jobs for the professionals.
While this will cost you more than attempting it yourself, the convenience and peace of mind knowing that these tasks have been done properly are worth it. Junk hauling can fall into this category, as well.
You can certainly do it yourself, but this will probably require a truck and possibly some extra hands. In addition, there are still the costs for gas and disposal fees. On top of all that, there is the possibility that you may not be able to dispose of everything in your local landfill. Not to mention the work!
This is why hiring a professional firm can be a great option when it comes to junk hauling.
Who Should You Call for Junk Hauling?
Once you decide to outsource the junk hauling part of your winterizing project, you need to determine which firm is the right one for the job. And while you can certainly find plenty of guys with trucks willing to do the job, choosing that alternative may end up costing you more than you hoped to save.
This is why Junk King really is the firm of choice.
Junk King provides an efficient, safe and eco-friendly waste disposal service so you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of the debris after your project is complete. Whether you need our services several times during a project or just once after it is complete, our hauling professionals will ensure that the debris is out of your way so that you can get on with the job.
Our team specializes in commercial and residential junk removal. We can be at your home in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
One of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we recycle a much of the material we pick-up. This is proof of our commitment to being an eco-friendly removal service. If you have questions about what we do or what we believe, give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK (5865).