Tips for winterizing your home or apartment as cold weather approaches

BY AUSTIN RUFF

As the temperature falls and the frost returns, it’s important to prepare yourself and your home. College students might be tempted to skip out on winterizing due to cost fears or time constraints, but a few easy steps can help make this winter a little more bearable.

Firstly, it’s important to have good winter attire. At least one heavy coat and lighter jacket will keep the biting cold and wind at bay. Gloves, scarves, and heavier socks are important for keeping your hands, face, and feet warm. Being properly dressed is especially important for students who walk or bike to school during the winter. 

Frostbite can occur at any temperature below freezing, but can be particularly dangerous when temperatures approach zero, so adding a scarf or layering up is never a bad idea.

Your home also needs to be properly tended before the temperatures drop. These options don’t have to be expensive, and are an easy way to prevent catastrophe in the middle of winter. Clearing your gutters of leaves and other debris can prevent the formation of ice dams and subsequently, icicles. Approximately 15 people die from falling ice and icicles each year, not to mention countless injuries. Taking the time to clean your gutters could save you a costly trip to the emergency room.

Heating prices are expected to rise dramatically this winter due to supply chain issues. You can save money and stay warm by setting your thermostat to 65 degrees and turning on your ceiling fan. Heat rises and turning your fans on can help keep the entire room at an even temperature and prevent your heating system from turning on unnecessarily.

Many college students live in older apartments, so leaky windows pose a problem during the wintertime. Window insulation film and sealing kits are a great way to keep the heat in when temperatures plummet. They run from $5-$15 on Amazon and can keep up to 70% more heat in than an unsealed window. Another way to stop heat from leaking out is to add draft guards to your doorways. They easily slip under the door and can be found for as little as $10.

Checking your hot water heater and heating system before temperatures get really low is extremely important. A build-up in the hot-water tank or a clogged filter could be the difference between being cozy or miserable. 

Be sure that all exposed pipes are insulated or shut off. A burst pipe is a costly error in the middle of winter. Approximately 250,000 homes will experience a burst pipe this winter. If you don’t have frost-free hydrants or spigots, be sure to either insulate or shut the water off to them. They are prime targets for bursting. By adding insulation, heating tape, or simply shutting a valve, you can prevent your home from being one of the many who experience a burst pipe.

Finally, preparing your yard for winter is arguably just as important as preparing your home. Ice, snow, and wind can weaken trees, causing falling branches that can harm you, your car, or your home. Take the time and trim dead branches to prevent unnecessary harm. 

Preparing yourself, your home, and your yard can help keep you safe and cozy throughout winter. Keeping warm and using common sense will get you through to spring.

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