Winter is coming — and it tends to be the season that is hardest on our homes! As your Boise Idaho and North End real estate pros, we know all the things that can happen if you don’t prepare your home for inclement weather. 

However, when you follow these tips, you’ll be ready for snow, sleet, or hail in no time!

Plan ahead

Even though winter doesn’t technically start for a couple more weeks, the temperatures have started to drop and it’s time to get your home ready. Remember, you may need to book appointments to replace insulation or manage any repairs that might be needed.

Inspect your roof

Your roof gets a lot of battering from Mother Nature, whether that’s in the form of precipitation, intense sunlight, or a mixture of both.

Get your roof inspected and ask the roofing expert for specific suggestions about anything that needs to be done. It’s a good idea to choose a roofer you can trust, so talk to your real estate team to get referrals for a good one!

Check windows, doors, and vents for air leaks

When a house feels drafty or too cold in the winter, it’s often because the windows, doors, or air vents aren’t well-sealed and are leaking warm air outside while allowing cold air inside. Check all your openings to the outside for leaks and seal them up.

Caulk and weatherstrip

Once you have an idea where the drafts are, you can reinforce the caulking or add weatherstripping. Both help seal the portal to the outside, keeping warm air inside and preventing the cold outside air from seeping in.

Clean your chimney

If you have a chimney connected to a fireplace, then cleaning it out before winter can really improve the airflow throughout your entire home, especially if it’s a chimney for a wood fireplace. 

Clear your gutters

Debris in your gutters can cause them to overflow during a hard rain and that can cause damage to your soffits and facia. After most of the leaves have fallen off any nearby trees, grab a ladder and spend an afternoon clearing any debris so rain and snowmelt will have an exit path from your roof.

You can also hire contractors to do the job for you — their ladders may reach higher than yours so it’s worth considering if you’re uncomfortable with heights or don’t have the equipment.

Protect your plants

Depending on the climate, some plants are going to fare better outside in the wintertime than others. Even some perennial bulbs are so sensitive to the cold that you need to dig them up and bring them inside in the wintertime or they’ll die.

Do a little bit of research around what the plants in your garden prefer and then treat them accordingly.

Prep your pipes

Given winter temperatures in Boise can drop below freezing, there’s a risk of frozen pipes. Water expands when it freezes, so frozen pipes can crack or burst, resulting in an unwelcome flood when things thaw.

And make sure you have your sprinkler system blown out — typically in October — to make sure you don’t have any damage come spring.

Inside the house, pipes most at risk are those running along exterior walls where may be little insulation. You can insulate individual pipes or add more insulation to the walls. Another solution is to let any faucets connected to these pipes slowly drip during severe weather, which can help prevent freezing. A

Change your furnace filters

When was the last time you replaced your furnace filter? Furnace filters should be replaced at least twice a year and ideally, your furnace serviced at least once per year.

Drain and store garden hoses

Like pipes, garden hoses with water inside can freeze and burst. When you’re finished with the hoses for the season, disconnect, drain, and store them somewhere safe until you’re ready to break them out again in the springtime.

Drain and store any window A/C units

If you use a window air conditioning unit, you’ll want to put it away before winter arrives in force. They’re lovely for cooling your house down, but they let in an awful lot of outside air when you aren’t using them. Unplug the unit and stash it in a storage space until you’re ready to re-install it next spring.

Reverse your ceiling fans

You may have learned in science class that hot air rises. And you can take advantage of that fact in the winter by reversing your ceiling fans so they spin the opposite direction. This will push the warm air close to your ceiling down toward you.

Flush your water heater

Water heaters can accumulate sediment over time and that can interfere with the heater’s operation. If you haven’t flushed your water heater, think about doing so before winter hits so that it’s operating at peak condition once the cold is here and you really want a hot bath.

Increase your insulation

If you’re starting the winterizing process early enough, it might be a good idea to assess your current level of insulation and beef it up if you think it’s inadequate. Depending on when your house was built and what kind of insulation was used, this can make a big difference in how warm it stays during the winter; well-insulated houses won’t let the warm air escape, keeping things nice and cozy inside.

Insulate your pipes and/or your water heater

One way to increase your home’s efficiency and keep pipes from freezing is to insulate them. You can also get blanket insulation for your water heater that fits over the heater and will help keep the water hot for longer. If frozen pipes or lukewarm winter water are a challenge for you, insulation could be the solution.

Add storm doors

A storm door provides a buffer from the cold outside in a couple of ways — first, by serving as an additional barrier between the front door and Mother Nature, and second, by allowing less warm air to escape when you enter or leave the house.

Winterizing isn’t as challenging as it might seem! Now that you have these tips, you’ll be ready for Mother Nature.