10 Tips to Help Winterize Your Home on Whidbey Island

Contributed by Si Fisher

As winter approaches, it's important to take some steps to prepare your home for the colder weather. This can save you big bucks on the heating bill, and as a homeowner we all know how important it is to maintain the greatest investment we have and protect it from potential damage.


Here are 10 tips to help you winterize your home on Whidbey Island

(Tip #10 might be the most important when living on Whidbey Island, don't miss it!)

1.  Seal windows and doors to keep the cold air out, and replace weather-stripping.


Small leaks can reduce your home's energy efficiency by as much as 30% annually! This leakage can be significantly reduced with some straightforward and affordable caulking of windows and weather stripping on doors.  Below are a couple videos that will help you if you want to take on these projects yourself.




Work with a local Realtor® who has a rolladex of local vendors to help with home projects!

2. Add or Install insulation in the attic or crawlspace


The attic is where insulation is most useful.

Unfortunately, the attic insulation in the majority of homes is either nonexistent or inadequate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that attics have at least R-38 insulation, which is generally 10 to 14 inches deep.

The hot air in the rooms below won't be able to enter the attic if the attic floor is adequately insulated. Caulking any ceiling penetrations—holes around pipes, ducts, and wires—as well as installing an insulated cover over the attic hatchway or stairs are equally crucial.

You could also look into getting your crawl space insulation on lock as well!

Check out this article for tips on crawl space insulation:

Or this video for installation tips:

3. Cover windows with heavy curtains or use plastic sealing kits to keep heat in.


In the winter, even the greatest, tightest-sealing windows seem a little chilly. Cover windows with insulated shades, heavy or thermal insulated curtains, or you can also get easy to install plastic shrink kits to make spaces seem warmer.


Highly Rated BUDGET Thermal Curtains on Amazon

Insulated Honeycomb Blinds for Windows on Amazon

Indoor Shrink Window Kit on Amazon

4. Check Your Fireplace

Creosote accumulation or animal nests might be dangerous in your wood-burning fireplace. Before lighting the first fire of the season, have an annual inspection. In addition to creosote the chimney can accumulate soot and other waste that an inspection will help identify.

An inspection can tell you wether or not your chimney needs to be cleaned, and if it is needed, it's best to have a professional get the job done.  Additionally, clean out any ash that has accumulated in the firebox using a vacuum or broom.

Likewise, regular cleaning and maintenance are needed for an electrical or propane fireplace.  To maintain your model running smoothly and safely, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Are you the DIY type?  Below are some links for chimney cleaning supplies, and a how to video:

Chimney Cleaning Supplies on Amazon

Electric Fireplace Insert on Amazon


5. Clean your gutters and downspouts

Gutter cleaning is a crucial aspect of getting ready for winter. As soon as the last of the autumn leaves have fallen, it's a good idea to get the gutters cleaned. Examine and clear the gutters of leaves and other debris to avoid clogs. Additionally, clear gutters will enable appropriate drainage of melting snow.

Gutter guards are an option to consider if you want to prevent gutter cleaning. They can be manufactured of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), aluminum, or stainless steel and help keep leaves, pine needles, grit from roofs, and other debris out of your gutter. To maintain the guards' full efficiency, they periodically need to be brushed off, but this is not as laborious as regular cleaning.


Aluminum Gutter Guard on Amazon

6. Disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets and drain them properly

Remember to disconnect and drain all exterior hoses and irrigation. You don’t want them damaged! In addition, it is wise to cover your outside faucets to prevent pipes from bursting. They are pretty easy to install.


Deluxe Faucet Protector on Amazon

Standard Faucet Protector on Amazon

Bag Type Protector on Amazon

Blowout Valve Adapter on Amazon

Male to Male Adapter on Amazon


7. Change the furnace filter every 3 months

A clean filter helps improve the efficiency of your furnace. The airflow is obstructed by a filthy filter that has dust, pollen, lint, and other debris trapped inside of it, which makes your furnace work harder to heat your house. Filters should be changed at least every three months.

Same goes for your HP-mini split, except most filters only need to be replaced once a year.  They can also be cleaned regularly (at least once a month), to improve efficiency.

Furnace Air Filter MERV 8 on Amazon

8. Check roof for missing or damaged shingles

Again I must reiterate how important it is to protect your most important investment. There are few things worse than a damaged roof that leads to water damage! So, get up there yourself to check for damaged shingles, or pay a professional to take a look.

Best Marshalltown Trowel on Amazon

Roofing Nails on Amazon

4-Pieces Pry Bar Set on Amazon

Roofing Shingles on Amazon

NP1 Gray Polyurethane Caulk on Amazon

Sealant Caulking Gun on Amazon

9. Add a layer of mulch to your garden beds to protect plants from frostbite

Protect your beautiful plants & landscaping!  Adding a layer of mulch can protect some plants from frostbite, but you may even have potted plants you want to bring indoors for the winter.

They also offer cheap hoop house kits on amazon that are great for a little winter gardening!

Greenhouse Hoops for 3ft or Wider Grow Tunnel on Amazon

You can also check out these cheap DIY hacks to protect your plants in Winter:

10. Consider investing in a generator or make sure your existing one is well maintained and ready to go

On Whidbey it is pretty much inevitable that we will see some winter power outages. If you rely on electric heating, your home's temperature will drop quickly throughout the winter, posing a serious threat to everyone's safety, especially when it drops below freezing. Even as the storm rages outside, a generator can keep your furnace running or at least a space heater or two, until the main power is restored, keeping you warm and cozy. Other benefits include charging your mobile devices, powering your internet router and wifi, and making sure your fridge/freezer continue running as needed.

2350-Watt Portable Inverter Generator on Amazon

1500W Ceramic Personal Heater on Amazon

7000-Watt Inverter Generator on Amazon

24kW Home Standby Generator on Amazon

One might think it goes without saying, but for safety reasons it is worth mentioning that if you are using a generator, it needs to be ran outside to avoid getting carbon monoxide poisoning which can be lethal.  You also might invest in getting a cover to protect your outside generator from the elements.

Waterproof Universal Generator Cover on Amazon

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