House & Home

Prepping your home for cold weather pays off

Posted September 21, 2014

Ensure gutters and downspouts are flowing freely. Clogs can cause water to make contact with the foundation walls of your home and creep under your roofing.

Preparing your home for colder weather can help ensure your family stays warm and safe, as well as save you money on energy-related costs and potential damage to your home’s structure.

“I recommend homeowners do a thorough home inspection at least every five years,” says Tom Capuano, a franchisee of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, North America’s largest home inspection franchise.

The experts at Pillar To Post recommend homeowners take the following steps to cover their bases.

Doors and windows

If you can feel cool air coming through the bottom of the door, replace the weather stripping and door sweeps to save about one-third of your average annual heating and cooling costs. Next, caulk drafty windows and replace old single-pane windows with thicker, more modern versions. Install storm windows and insulate walls and attics.

Chimney and flue

Annual inspections of the chimney and flue minimize the threat of chimney fires. Additionally, add a chimney cap to keep out moisture and ensure your chimney has an appropriate liner to separate system emissions from the home’s structure. Inspect and maintain chimney flashing.

Outdoor areas

Ensure gutters and downspouts are flowing freely. Clogs can cause water to make contact with the foundation walls of your home and creep under your roofing.

Seal cracks in your home’s foundation to prevent moisture intrusion. Seal decks and fences to prevent the wood from rotting.

The roof takes the brunt of the cold weather, so repair leaks, however minor, and replace loose shingles.

Winterize pipes with insulation, especially those that are exposed to the elements or located in unheated areas. Know where your water shut-off valves are located so they can be turned off in case of a pipe leak.

Trim tree branches that could potentially fall onto your home or driveway. Check with your local municipality about regulations.


Programmable thermostats can cut energy bills by $100 or more each year. For every degree your thermostat is adjusted, you can save up to one percent on energy bills.

In-home leaks

Repair leaking faucets and toilets, which can add up to 20 gallons of water per person per day. Also consider low-flush toilets and showerheads. Low-flush toilets use less than 1.6 gallons of water per flush and low-flow showerheads use up to 36 percent less water. Some local water department offer rebates for making the upgrade.

If you don’t have the time or knowledge to inspect your home for problem areas, certified home inspectors can quickly check all areas of your home and will give you a report of your home’s condition. For example, Pillar To Post offers home inspection reports detailing up to 1,600 key components of a home’s condition so you can take a preventative approach to problems.

More information about home inspections can be found at

Home inspections and prepping for the cool weather can help protect your family and your pocketbook.


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