Snow falling on the ground and falling on a green house with white trim.

There’s a lot to like about the winter season in Maryland. The holidays are here, you’ve probably got some vacation time, and the weather can be pretty. But the weather can also be a nightmare for the unprepared home.  

Need some pointers to winterize your space this season? Stick with the team at Shanco while we detail some cost and stress-saving winter defense tips! It is always important to give yourself time to prepare to get completely ready for winter. Need professional help winterizing your home, or looking for experts to do some larger home exterior renovation and update projects? The team at Shanco is here to help!  

6 Basics Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter 

Winterizing revolves solidly around preparing and protecting against the most significant hazards that come along with the season. The goal is to reduce the risks of possible damage while also boosting energy efficiency when possible. To do these we recommend the following: 

  • Winterizing your windows. Window kits are extremely cheap and yet very effective at minimizing heat loss in the winter months. Kits range from full plastic shrink sheets to weather stripping, and simplistic covers. You can choose according to what works easiest for you and based on your needs. Any home improvement store will provide window products to restrict cold air penetration.  

  • Controlling door drafts. Cold weather drafts from entry doors and windows can make your heating work far too hard. We recommend sealing any cracks with caulk. Additionally, ensure that the base of the door gets fitted with a draft stopper if there’s a gap. 

  • Preparing your HVAC system. Get your home heating equipment serviced by your trusted HVAC contractor. This will save you on energy bills or fuel costs and ensure you don’t get stuck with a midnight breakdown. Also, be sure to replace the air filters on your heating system. This will ensure that warm air is not passing through a restrictive dusty filter. 

  • Insulating your pipes. Exposed pipes are very vulnerable to freezing and bursting. You do not want to be dealing with a burst pipe this year! Foam pipe insulators are a cheap and quick way to protect against any frozen pipe issues you might have. Do not forget to protect your outdoor water pipes and spigot with a foam cover and disconnect your garden hose!  

  • Clearing your gutters. Be sure to clear your gutters of any obstructions and clean them thoroughly. Shanco recommends cleaning your gutters twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall. This will keep flow healthy and drastically reduce the risks of ice dams forming along the gutters and roof. 

  • Trim back trees. Trees overhanging your property pose a problem for those blustery winter days and ice storms. Weakened branches can be susceptible to breakage during the freeze/ thaw cycle. Ice will weigh heavily on branches and may cause them to break. Take a proactive approach and remove any potential hazards before they become hazards. Don’t have a pole pruner? A local, insured tree trimming company can assist with trimming back trees.  

3 Winter Proofing Investments to Consider 

The above list is DIYer-friendly. There is more advanced winter-proofing that can provide you with considerably more benefits. In most cases these will require contracted work and potential investment, we figured they belong in their own bracket. 

  • Get insulation inspected/add insulation. Many homes in our area are under-insulated. That means you’re paying more for heating and getting less return. Additionally, too little insulation opens the opportunity for ice dam formation. 
  • Install storm windows and doors. Storm windows and storm doors add a barrier against cold wind and weather. Storm windows protect your home and help you seal warm air in. 
  • Find out more about roof ventilation. Poor roof ventilation is the leading cause of ice dams, which are a potentially very costly problem to have. Most professionally installed roofs will be properly ventilated. However, if you have an older roof, it will not hurt to get an inspection to assess the ventilation levels. 

Home Services with Shanco in Maryland, NOVA, and Richmond 

We hope you have an excellent, safe holiday season this year! If you need help winterizing your home, call Shanco today to get the process started!