How to Prepare Your Home for the Winter

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Prepare your home for the cold winter months.

Preparing your home for the winter is no fun when it is already below 20 degrees Fahrenheit outdoors, and snow has begun to fall. What’s even worse is having a busted sprinkler system because you didn’t get around to winterizing the pipes before the cold months.

Prevention is better than cure, as you may have realized. Fall is the best time to prepare your home for the winter season.

Proper and thorough winterization involves a review of your home’s equipment and the critical structural and mechanical systems present in your home.

It’s best to take care of everything before winter so that once the snow starts to fall, you can enjoy from the comfort of your home and not have to worry about anything. To get the ball rolling, check out our complete guide on winterizing your home.

Winterize the Air Conditioning System

One of the most neglected components of your cooling system is the condensing unit outside that churns away in the warmth of summer. As winter approaches, you should take some time to care for the component.

  • Clean the condensing unit of debris. Clean the fan blades and condensing coils using a hose with the spray head set to the most forceful pressure. This will allow you to clear debris and dirt. Then, allow the unit to dry completely before covering it.
  • Cover the condensing unit. The condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris if left unprotected. The damage contributes to rusting and freezing of internal components. You can extend the life and efficiency of your condensing unit by covering it with a breathable waterproof cover.
  • Winterize window air conditioners. Remove and store window air conditioners before winter, if possible. If you leave these air conditioners in windows, they become difficult to seal effectively against winter drafts. If you can’t remove your window air conditioners, at least close the vents and cover the unit with a breathable waterproof cover.

How to Winterize Flowers and Plants

Like many animals, most plants go dormant during the colder months. As most plants need sunlight and warmth to grow (which aren’t typically present during wintertime), they stop growing and rest until the warmer months return.

During the “hibernation” of your plants, you get to take a break as well. You won’t need to tend to your plants as much. Before that, however, you’ll need to take some time to prepare your plants for the colder months.

If possible, try to squeeze in one last watering session of your outdoor plants during the late fall. Also, you can apply a slow-acting fertilizer, which will provide nourishment to your plants throughout the winter months.

For bulbs and perennials, consider cutting back any dead above-ground segments to ensure all of the plant’s energy is devoted to building sturdy roots. Add an insulating layer of mulch in the fall to prevent the bulbs and roots from freezing.

Potted plants are the most vulnerable in the winter because pots do a terrible job of keeping a plant’s roots insulated. Therefore, it would be wise to move potted plants into an area that is sheltered from the snow and wind.

Wrap the containers of the plants in insulating material such as foam, straw, or clippings from evergreens. Additionally, you may apply an antitranspirant spray.

Lastly, consider tying evergreen branches together. Doing this will prevent the branches from breaking off in the cold.

Read further on the next page.