Living in Arizona you get to experience the great vast expanses of plains, desert, and mountains. You also get to experience the great vast differences in temperature between regions, seasons, months and even within a single day.
In the lower desert valleys, it might be 70 F during the day in winter, then drop below freezing at night.
If you live in the higher elevations in the northern and central areas, you also get the cold air sweeping in around your winter home, bringing temperatures below zero — sometimes to 35 below! Add the storms coming in from the Pacific, usually November through March, and you’re looking at big dumps of snow as well — up to 100-plus inches.
Preparing for winter is a must with these extremes — especially if you want to make your life easy and keep your home cozy and efficient this winter.
To help, we’ve put together this checklist of maintenance items to do before the big weather hits. Keep reading to learn how to winterize your home efficiently and effectively, then get started in time so you can enjoy the perks of the winter season too.
1. Keep the Cold Air Out
To start, you want to ensure that the cold weather stays where it belongs — outside your home. This not only keeps you warm but it also boosts energy efficiency in winter so you keep that energy bill down as much as possible.
Look for cracks in the caulking sealing windows and doors. Sometimes you can feel the cool air coming in. Fix the caulking in the spots that need it or redo that whole seal.
Look at the caulking around vents as well — inside and outside. And look outside at the caulking around faucets. Fix the caulking in the spots that need it to ensure the cold air doesn’t sneak in.
Next look at the weatherstripping around windows and doors. if it looks cracked or worn away, redo the weatherstripping.
Lastly, check the foundation walls of your home. As the earth shifts and from weather wear, cracks can appear. Seal any cracks that you see to keep the cold air out.
For some of these tasks, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional. This will keep you more energy-efficient as well so you can focus on the other tasks.
2. Keep the Warm Air In
Another way to boost energy efficiency and to keep your home cozy is to insulate. This keeps all that warmth you create with your furnace, fireplace or central heat in.
The important spots to add insulation are your attic, your basement, and in the crawl spaces. If you already have insulation, be sure to inspect it and fix or upgrade as needed. Be sure to check and maintain ventilation in these areas as well.
Another fun trick is to take the outside screens off your windows to let more sunlight and heat in during the day. This also helps keep ice and snow from getting trapped against the window during storms.
3. Clean and Check Your Fireplace and All Heating Systems
Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces build up creosote that you want to be sure and clean so it doesn’t lead to a fire. Clean chimneys as well.
Gas stoves need to be cleaned and checked as well. They can build up with debris and dust from the past winter and you want to make sure they are working so you don’t have to worry about it when the snow and cold hit or call a professional when it’s high winter season.
All vents, air ducts, and filters should be checked and cleaned to ensure the most heat and clean air for the winter months.
4. Prepare Your Smoke Detector
With everything well-sealed and your furnace and heating systems up and running, you want to make sure that your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors are also in good shape in case something goes wrong.
Be sure to put in fresh batteries and have some extras handy in case there’s a big snowstorm when it’s replacement time.
5. Prepare Winter Supplies
Winter is one of those times when the power goes out in the area due to ice storms and the like. It’s also the time you don’t want to get caught without your emergency supplies.
Stock up on food and water.
Keep several flashlights with extra batteries handy. Candles are also great to have. Don’t forget matches. These you can use as well to light a fire in the wood-burning fireplace or stove. Don’t forget the wood!
Get a power generator if you’re in an area where power outages happen often. Otherwise, you can likely make do with a battery cell-phone charger.
Be sure to have a full first-aid kit on hand as well as a power-crank radio.
6. Keep Pipes From Freezing
Insulate your pipes in areas that don’t get the full benefit of the heat in your home — like near the doors and windows.
Keep the faucets dripping slightly and keep the indoor temperature up at 55 F minimum.
Outside, unscrew your hose from the faucet. Also, have your pipes checked to make sure there isn’t any water stuck in them that can freeze and cause them to burst.
7. Prepare the Entryway
Get ready for that snow and water that can get tracked inside by putting mats inside and outside entry doors. Also, keep a snow boot scraper outside and a waterproof spot inside to store footwear so it doesn’t leak or drip onto the floor.
For outside, be sure to have salt and a shovel ready to clear the paths. Mark the areas ahead of time so you know exactly where to shovel snow away.
Also, keep stock up on some sand that you can throw down on slick stairs and walkways so no one slips.
8. Prepare the Roof and Gutters Against Ice Dams
Clean the gutters so that water can’t back up or leak and add to the chance of building an ice dam on your roof or damaging it and your house siding.
Ice dams themselves can damage your roof. Have a roof rake handy so that if there’s any build-up of snow or ice, you can clean it off immediately.
A Cozy Well-Maintained Winter Home for You
Now that you know the essentials of winterizing your home, you’re ready to get started on your own abode yourself and with a professional if needed. A cozy winter home makes those winter months so much more enjoyable and efficient when it comes to energy savings.
And while you’re sipping hot cocoa by the fire in your warm abode, you can peruse our blog for more helpful Arizona-living tips like designing and keeping up a gorgeous garden next spring!
We also have movie reviews if you’re deciding what to watch while you sit by the fire or if you venture out to the cinema for some fresh (but cold) air.