The weather is already changing and the idea of living through cold weather during a pandemic is becoming a reality. Last year, we gave some simple tips to prepare your home for winter, but this year, things are different. We’re living through a time that has changed and will continue to change our behavior in order to ensure our safety. But don’t be discouraged! You can beat cabin fever with some creativity and at the same time, do some practical maintenance to protect your home from frigid temperatures. Let’s start with the practical action items to prepare your home for the winter this fall, and keep your home in top-selling condition.
Do a Fall Cleanup
While the weather is tolerable, let’s start winterizing the outside of the home with a fall cleanup.
When you prepare your single-family home or townhome for the winter, here are a few things you can do:
- Clean the Gutters: Clean gutters help snowmelt run smoothly. It prevents dangerous icicles from forming and moves water away from your home, preventing leaks and water damage.
- Trim Perennials: If your plants are coming back in the spring, trim them now to encourage new growth. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, there are many landscape companies that offer a winterizing package. They will mow your lawn for the final time and trim anything needed. The best part? They take clippings with them!
- Cover Outdoor Furniture: Protect your patio or balcony furniture by investing in good-quality covers. Windy, ice, and water can severely damage even the toughest materials.
- Sprinkler and Water Spigot Maintenance: Sprinkler systems should be drained and shut down for the season. Water in pipes can freeze and burst, causing a slew of issues. Garden hoses should be brought indoors, and water spigots should be covered. An insulating cover will reduce heat loss that is naturally transmitted through your home’s pipes.
For those in condos in neighborhoods like The Loop or New Eastside, you don’t often have to worry about building and landscaping maintenance. However, there are some things you can do in your unit to make things more comfortable during the coldest winter months:
- Install Draft Stoppers: These foam or bean-filled rolls are placed at the bottom of your doors to keep cold drafts from entering your home. If you have any exterior doors, these are a must.
- Reverse the Rotation of Ceiling Fans: Changing the rotation of your fan will pull cool air up and displace the warm air near the ceiling.
- Get Insulated Curtains: Large windows bring lots of light in but they also cool your home. Heavy insulating curtains will keep your room much warmer.
- Buy a Humidifier: Humidifiers will put moisture into the air, relieving you of sinus congestion and dry skin so common during cold months. More moist air also means more efficient heating in your home.
Have Your HVAC System Checked & Ducts Cleaned
Comfort begins with temperature and humidity. So, one great thing you can do is to get your HVAC system serviced by a professional. They will make sure your filters are in good shape, check your home humidifier (or install one if you don’t have one), and let you know if there are any possible issues. You don’t want something to go wrong in the middle of a cold snap.
Have you noticed your allergies get worse when you turn on your heat for the season? You probably need to order a duct cleaning service. Duct cleaning is especially important if you have done any construction or remodeling in the home. The service is very affordable. Keep an eye out for deals or coupons in the mail from area companies. The deep cleaning will leave you breathing better.
Prepare Your Home for the Winter by Creating Cozy Spaces in Your Home
When you’re stuck inside, it’s important that you enjoy your surroundings. So, now’s the time to get some new throw pillows, lap blankets, and even an electric fireplace to create ambiance. The Danish people call this coziness “hygge,” and they understand how this feeling can lead to contentment.
Don’t just create one cozy space in your home, create several. That way, you can move around your home for a change of scenery. For instance, you can do your morning reading at the kitchen table with a lit candle that smells of your favorite things. Then, you can migrate to a window that faces the street to do some people watching. You can move a chair right in front of the window for the season (that means possibly rearranging your room). Embrace the change!
Make Plans for Being Inside
Movie nights, game nights, catching up on those books piled next to your bed — these are all things to do while you’re indoors. If you have kids, include them in your routine. Kids of all ages can help cook or clean, or at least they can watch you work. There are plenty of opportunities for teachable moments and quality time when you’re all together.
Make Plans for Being Outside
Cabin fever is a real thing. And cortisol levels will raise, along with your blood pressure. And the pandemic limits the indoor spaces we can visit. But in Chicago, we’re no strangers to cold weather, and we know what it feels like to bundle up and walk to the local drinking hole or grocery store. So, now’s the time to buy any outerwear you need to get outside even when it’s cold. With the right clothing, you can take walks, head to the dog park with your fur baby, or visit your favorite local shops without too much discomfort. Getting outside will revitalize you.
Planning to Sell your Home? Take Photos
While the leaves are changing and the snow is still a memory from last winter, take photos of your home if you’re planning to sell within the next six months. Not only will your home look flattering, but if you wait, snow can distort the look of your home. Pale gray skies can wash out colors and thus, the beauty of your home. Pick a sunny autumn day and have a photo shoot that shows off the best aspects of your property!
As we head into the cooler seasons, I want you to know that I’m here for you. These last months have been unusual to say the least, but rest assured, the housing market continues to operate with remarkable success. As you prepare your home for the winter, I’m here to guide you and help you sell your home no matter what the circumstances.