10 Hacks to Winterize Your Home This Year

As the colder months approach us, it’s time to start thinking about what can be done to winterize your home. Winter storms typically occur in the Midwest anytime from late October to April. They are most likely to happen during the winter months of December to February. Here’s the thing – winter storms range from light snowfall for several hours to a blizzard that makes it impossible leave the home for long periods of time. These circumstances can be just as dangerous as any other natural disaster.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

Winterize Your Home10 - Blankets
Make sure to have plenty of blankets on hand in case the power goes out or your primary source of heat isn’t available. Store an extra blanket in each room of the home or have a designated area where blankets can be easily accessed.

9 - Alternative Heating Source
It’s important to have an alternative heating source so that you have another way to keep the home warm and cook meals. If you don’t have a fireplace, here is a list of other sources of heat:
Winterize Your Home

  • Closed Loop Geothermal Energy System
  • Solar Powered Energy
  • Masonry Heaters
  • Pellet Stoves
  • Wood Stoves
  • Propane Heaters

Another tip to help save money on energy during the winter is start acclimating your body to colder temperatures. If you keep your house at 72 degrees during the warmer months, try and lower the temperature by 1 degree every week for the next four weeks.

8 - Clothing
Some people get excited about spring cleaning; I experience the same feelings when it comes to winterizing the home. It’s the perfect time to switch out all of your cooler clothing and fill up the closet and dresser with warm, cozy clothing. Heck, maybe even add a couple of pairs of crazy socks just to spice things up this year.

Food Storage Winterize7 - Food Storage
For most of you who follow the Ready Store blog, it seems like a no-brainer that you should have enough food storage. Stock up on food. This will come in handy if you are ever snowed in and are not able to make it to the local grocery store for more than a week.

6 - Water Storage
Don’t let your stored water freeze! It’s important to keep it in an area where the temperatures are consistent throughout the year. Too hot or cold of temperatures can warp the water containers.

Winterize Your Home 5 - Winterize Your Home
When you better insulate your walls and attics, the farther your fuel supply will last. Consider caulking and weather stripping doors and windows to prevent heat loss. Clean out the leaves from rain gutters. This will save you from adding extra weight when snow hits your home.

4 - Insulate Pipes
Before temperatures drop, shut off the main water valve outside and detach any hose spigot from faucets and turn off the sprinkler system. With internal piping, insulate pipes with slip-on foam sleeves. Plastic piping is easier to maintain compared to copper and steel. Also, consider using heat tape to protect them from freezing.

Winterize Your Car3 - Winterize Your Car
This is one of the most important things to do as winter starts to creep in. If you’re not confident in your abilities to do car maintenance, take it to a mechanic to check the following things:

  • Check your battery
  • Change wiper blades
  • Refill wiper fluid
  • Change the oil
  • Check your tire pressure and tread (consider getting all-season or snow tires)
  • Check your anti-freeze
  • Restock your car’s 72-hour kit
  • Check heating system
  • Check belts and hoses

Get in the habit of wearing extra layers when leaving the home and always keeping extra coats, gloves, hand warmers and beanies in the car.

Winterize Your Home2 - Check Your Roof
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, have the roof checked for integrity. Ask yourself, can it handle the weight of the snow that will come?

1 - Keep Fire Extinguishers on Hand
House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. Always keep an eye on your alternative heating source

What do you do to winterize your home?

13 thoughts on “10 Hacks to Winterize Your Home This Year”

  • Colleen

    Please remember, when using alternate heat sources which use kerosene, propane, etc, that you have proper ventilation and that you follow the manufacturer's instructions. All the preparation in the world is worthless if you perish as a result of trying to stay warm. Same goes for alternate cooking sources. Always provide proper ventilation and protection from the elements for generators and never bring fuel powered generators indoors with you.

  • MelodyAtHome

    Thank goodness we live in southwest Florida. We lived in Ohio all our lives so I definitely know about how important it is to be prepared for the cold. These are excellent tips for preparing for winter. Definitely have shovel, boots, food, blanket, pee bucket(not just if you have kids :) etc... in your car if you break down or stuck on the highway. Blizzards can come on suddenly. You can be in your car for hours or even overnight. Be prepared.

  • Harv Russell

    And for those of you fortunate enough to have wood or coal burning stoves keep a goodly supply of fuel close enough to your doorway and covered so you can reach it easily..Also small pieces of Fireplce Starter Logs placed under the kindling and lighted jumpstarts the fire quicker.The mountain man's method for resurrecting a nearly out fire is a one half inch diameter copper pipe 36 inches long with the fire end mashed down except for a small airhole ..Blowing thru this and pointed toward the sparks or embers activates the embers pronto! ...and your back in business again.

  • Barbara

    I read about placing a container of baking soda in every room in case a fire starts.
    I live in north Texas and though we don't get snowed in we can get enough ice that has kept us from being able to out. Three days is the longest we've had to deal with it but three days is a long time if your not prepared for lose of power or shortage of food.
    Don't forget the elderly neighbor who maybe alone with no family or no one close to check in on them. Take a warm bowl of soup or something, ask if they have an emergency radio, if not maybe you have a spare one to share. Even a transistor radio would be better than nothing and don't forget extra batteries.

  • Doc

    I live in upstate NY This is part of life

  • Lance Hoefs

    Cold weather preparedness , Good Topic . I was lucky enough to be in Alaska in 1989 for one of the coldest winters on record. Proper clothing is a must , The military at the time had polypropylene long underwear . worked well . However as far as clothes goes I am sure you have all heard of layering, in my experience you cannot beat Wool as a base layer or for all your layers same with your blankets IE : have one of those modern fleece blankets ? wake up sweating in the middle of the night ? hat's because they do not breathe as wool does wool is kind of like climate control not to mention even when wet it still insulates. Silk is good as well . Water well some of us do not have a place to store water that won't freeze so do a web search and there are containers that can handle freezing now of course may be a problem when you need it but hey use your head and figure it out . Remember your mind is the most important survival tool you have .

  • Dave W.

    I live north from Buffalo.You don't need to tell me about the cold.A lot of people have moved up this way.I tell them how cold it gets around here.The new record is -17 was set in 2005.I keep my gas grill on my porch,and I have 2 full spare tanks of propane in my shed.On October 13,2006 we got hit with a freak snow storm.The lake dumped 3 feet of heavy wet snow on us.All the trees still had all it's leaves.Branches where braking all over town.Taking power lines with it.Lot's of houses had heavy damage.No power,no heat,and all the streets had trees downed.Could not drive anywere.When I walked to the store to get supplies it was realy dangerous.Trees were still braking from the snow and ice on them.I will never be cought with my pants down again.4 days without power.5 nights without lights,and heat.I have my list and I have my supplies.If you don't?Then get them soon.

  • Dave W.

    You need to keep a good mind set when it comes to the winters here in Buffalo.People die here every year from the cold.Most of them died in a car.You get stuck and can't move.They didn't bring any cold weather goods and tried to wait for help.Help came too late.If your car gets stuck,you may need to leave it and walk to get help in the cold and deep snow.The bodies were found in their car frozen to death.They ran out of gas and the car turned into a ice box.

    And last year the thruway I 90 got snowed in from PA line all the way up to Hamburg NY.5000 cars stranded for over 5 days.The NY State Troopers had to ride around on snow mobiles bringing food and water to all the people that got stuck.That worked for the first 12 hours.Then the cars ran out of gas.So they called for a state of emergentcy and moved all the people from their cars to nearby motels,and hotels.It took over 5 days to move all the cars.It was the craziest thin I have ever seen.NY State put into law that if the snow gets too deep for the thruways for cars and trucks to travel on.They will close the truways until the snow is removed.Whats this winter going to be like?

  • Tom

    Just a side note on cold weather use of 20 or 30 pound propane bottles. After cold weather camping for many years sometimes in sub-zero weather I can assure you that Propane is not the heating fuel you want to put all of your stock in. Liquified petroleum gas (aka Propane) begins to fail to pressurize the smaller cannisters as the temperature approaches the Zero degrees Farenheit. Despite having a boiling point of -44 D F. the smaller propane bottles do not perform well in low temperature environments. Also be extremely careful with indoor use of any type of unvented combustable fuel source. CO2 and oxygen depletion are serious issues when using heaters designed for use in vented areas. Stay Safe and think ahead.

  • Amom

    Oh yea, winter driving. Always have a Rubbermaid container in the car with blanket, small med kit, full water bottle, crackers and cig lighter type rechargeable flashlight. We travel a pass 50 miles, each way to the big city to do shopping once a month. We have many times been stuck on the pass for a while till the way is clear from snow or accidents. Then proceed at 20 miles or less an hour all the way over. Seen some scary stuff up there in the winter months.

  • Northwoods Cheryl
    Northwoods Cheryl November 6, 2014 at 5:06 am

    I live in northern Wisconsin. Last year it got to 37 BELOW zero, and a steady wind of 30-40mph. THAT was cold! We still had -8 in mid April! We always have at least 1/2 a year's extra firewood. Last winter we burned 32 face cords, a record for us! This year looks to be similar. All you can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Every year sucks, every year we still make it. No chance or desire to move. The remoteness and rough climate are a big part of our safety here!

  • jay

    I live in ct. Something people don't think of is ice cleats to go over shoes and snow shoes. A friend of mine was walking home slipped on the ice, knocked himself out, and past away due to hypothermia. Put a reflective vest in your car. That emergency worker might be up for 24hrs plus and with low visibility you blend in. FAILURE TO PREPARE IS PREPARING FOR FAILURE

  • Fr. Chuck

    M+ 3 year tour in Alaska. Every bedroom has a flashlight and tall votive candles. Every floor has a lg fire extinguisher. Pickup vehicle: bag w/full med supplies. Knapsack: food, bottled water, peanut butter, crackers, energy bars, sun glasses, spoon, Swiss knife, flashlight, survival blanket packets, extra winter socks, hand ,feet warmers, MREs w/heater, compass, wool hat, ear muffs, fix-a-flat, entrenching shovel. bucket of sand, duct tape, fan belt w/tools.

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