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There’s no feeling quite like the pride you feel as a homeowner. Unfortunately, that proud feeling also comes with a lot of work you have to put in all year round. While Mother Nature gets to take a long nap during the winter, you–the homeowner–must do what is needed to protect your pipes, salvage your yard, and keep heating costs down as much as you can. 

Luckily, there are things you can do to winterize your home that help prevent catastrophes from happening when the temperature drops. Check out these easy DIY projects you can do to make your home happier and more comfortable during the winter. 

Replace the Filters for Your Heating System

The furnace is the king of appliances in the winter. It is the giver of comfort, but without proper maintenance on your part it can take it all away. One of the things you should absolutely do before the cold weather sets in is change the filters in your heating system. When the filters are clogged with dirt, dust, and debris, your heating system has to work harder. It’s kind of like how it is harder for you to breathe when you block your mouth and nose with a mask. 

If your furnace has to chug along even harder because of a dirty filter, your home will not be heated efficiently. Worst of all, you’ll see all that extra chugging your heating system is up to reflected on your energy bill. Changing your filters is a low cost project that only takes an afternoon, but it will help your home heat more efficiently and extend the life of your furnace. 

Check out this Lifehacker list of other inexpensive ways to save money on your energy bill. 

Retire Your Pool for the Season

While people living in Florida and Southern California may be able to enjoy their pools year round, most of us need to close up shop before the first big freeze. Making sure your pool is clean and properly closed now will make it that much easier to open it back up when summer rolls around. 

First, you’ll need to balance the water’s chemistry before lowering its level. Next, you want to take ladders, skimmers, toys, and whatever other pool accessories you have out of the area and store them in a warm, dry place. If you don’t have a pool shed for this purpose, your basement or garage should suffice. After everything is cleared away and the water is down, you can drain any water logged equipment including heating, filters, pumps, and chlorinating devices. Finally, use a winter pool cover to prevent dirt and debris from getting in over the course of the season. 

Winterize Your Pipes

To protect your home from busted pipes this winter, be sure you take care to winterize them before the first freeze. To do so, turn off your house’s main water line. Next, you will need to drain out any water hanging around in your pipes. Turn on all your fixtures, flush toilets, and use an air compressor to force any remaining water out of your pipes. If your home is multiple stories, do this from the top floor down.

Once your pipes are fully drained, they are ready to be insulated. You can use pre-slit pipe foam to wrap your pipes and prevent them from freezing and bursting. Pipe foam also makes it easier for your water to heat up, which can save you extra pennies on your energy bill. 

To make sure your home survives the season, you have to winterize your house. Little things like replacing the air filters in your heating system can make your home more comfortable while saving you money on your energy bill. If you have a pool, cleaning, balancing, and covering it before winter makes it easier to break back out when summer comes back. Finally, you want to protect your home’s plumbing system by winterizing and protecting your pipes from the cold.