You did it! You bought a new house and moved in. Congratulations.
But, you haven’t yet sold your old one. And, as if that isn’t stressful enough, winter is coming. With no one living in your old house, winter weather can really do some damage to it.
Here are some tips for winterizing your vacant (or non vacant) home.
Leave the heat on very low. Though it might seem like a waste of money or energy at first glance, a minimal heating bill will be less expensive than the cost of potential repairs if everything were to freeze up.
Turn off all water and drain all pipes, water fixtures, heaters, wells tanks, ect. If you can’t do this, make sure to leave some water running through the pipes by turning on the fixture closest to where water enters the house and at the farthest point indoors, say in an upstairs bathroom. It needs to trickle constantly to keep water flowing.
Wrap insulation around the water heater, the pipes leading to and from it and insulate any pipes exposed outdoors, in a crawl space under the house, etc.
Put some anti-freeze in both the tank and the bowl of each toilet. If the heat goes out and water inside the toilets freezes, it could crack the china fixtures.
Test your furnace & while you’re at it, change your furnace filter too.
Check your hose bibs (outside faucets) – Disconnect any outside hoses to prevent trapping water. If you have valves inside your house to shut off your exterior faucets, shut off those valves and open your hose bib to let any trapped water out.
Clean gutters – Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and other debris. Clogged gutters can prevent melting snow from draining which can lead to ice dams.
Seal up leaks – Check all of your window and doors for air leaks, and add weather stripping if needed.
Storm windows – If you don’t have double pain windows, adding storm windows or a window shrink kit can make a big difference in your heating bill.
Insulate – Check your attic to see how much insulation you have. The recommendation these days is 16”-22” or an R-value of 49
Reverse your fan – Since warm air rises, set your ceiling fans to blow the warm air down.
Finally, if your home is vacant, try and check it every few weeks to make sure nothing cracked, broke, leaked, ect.