Winterizing Your Home

By Sheila Robison, Economic Security Team Member at Elder Law of Michigan

Check the calendar! It’s the time of year to prepare for winter, whether we want to or not! It’s important to go through certain steps to make sure your home is all set for the low temps and cold winds that winter brings! Better to be safe than sorry and that saying is doubled during the winter months. You do not want to have to get out in the snow blizzards of February to seal a window or hang a new door. Read on for some helpful tips that might help you prepare.

Before winter sets in, use this checklist to prepare for the freezing months ahead:

  1. Clean the yard. Pick up any fallen tree branches and debris.
  2. Have your roof inspected. Check for deterioration in any way.
  3. Remove hoses, drain them, and store them away.
  4. Shut off outside water valves and insulate the faucets.
  5. Have your furnace, fireplace, and chimney checked.
  6. Caulk any holes or openings around your house. Install weather stripping around windows, doors, and mail chutes.
  7. Check the gutters. Have your gutters cleaned out if necessary.
  8. Switching to a programmable thermostat is a good idea! This will allow you to customize your heating, so the system doesn’t run when you don’t need it to.
  9. Bring in outdoor plants. Store lawn furniture the shed or garage.
  10.  Make sure you have a snow shovel or can call a company to safely remove your snow.

Know your neighborhood. If there are senior citizens nearby, make sure you check on them before winter sets in to see if they are prepared. Maybe you could move their trash bin to the street when you move yours. A simple phone call to say hello goes a long way on a dark winter day to cheer any neighbor.

Have emergency numbers close by. Your local power company may conduct energy-saving assessments that you could benefit from. This is often a free service where a representative will identify specific changes to make your home more energy-efficient and save you money in the long run.

If you have access to a computer, check out the Michigan Weatherization Assistance Program or call (517) 373-8896, 11 Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget, and How to Winterize Your Home Checklist for some added tips and security for a healthier and happier winter. We all can benefit from knowing about things to do before the cold hits around us. When all is done and that first snowfall comes, you can relax knowing you have done your best to prepare. You can pour yourself some hot tea and sit back and work on a puzzle or read a new book!  

Sheila Robison is an Economic Security Team Member for MiCAFE and a counselor with the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) at Elder Law of Michigan. Sheila has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since June 2010. As an Economic Security Team Member, Sheila assists Michigan seniors with benefit applications and serves as an advocate for the health and safety of seniors.