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How Much Does it Cost to Prepare Your Home for Winter? From DIY to Full Project

Written by Cristina Miguelez

Published on July 1, 2021


How Much Does it Cost to Prepare Your Home for Winter? From DIY to Full Project

We’ve visually broken down the tasks and costs to winterize a house using three budgets - DIY, average project and full winterizing checklist

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

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As we transition from summer into winter, the fall season is a great time to prepare our homes for the changes in weather conditions. With the wintery climate comes rising energy costs, cold and drafty areas, and storm damage. However, there are several ways to lessen the impacts of these aspects and enjoy the chillier season in a comfortable home with lower energy costs. It's also possible to take steps to help ensure your home comes through the winter with less potential damage from harsh weather and storms as well.

Depending on your budget and the age and type of home you have, you may be able to undertake a low-budget DIY winterizing, a more moderate approach that can help improve things even more, or an all-in approach for homeowners who wish to to have their home completely prepared for all the challenges of winter.

Below, we've outlined the tasks of the different levels of preparation, with specific cost information and recommendations. The three winterizing budgets are designed for you to have an idea of the most important tasks to undertake depending on your budget. It is, of course, possible to mix projects from different budgets. The tasks you choose will ultimately depend on your needs and your home's characteristics. Undertake one or all of the projects to make sure your home is ready for the cold.

Cost to Winterize a House - DIY

Winterizing your home doesn't have to break the bank. There are many things you can do yourself to winterize your home without the need for a professional. While some of these things are not permanent solutions and may seem to be small improvements, they can all help make your home more comfortable, while reducing energy costs and potential damage. This low cost project budget has a total of $75 to $205 if you undertake every task on the list, yet some of these items have no cost at all.

Winterize House Checklist & Cost (DIY)

Without any cost involved, you can start by reversing your ceiling fans. This will help keep the warm air away from the ceiling, and down near you where it will have the most effect. You should also take the time to drain your outdoor faucets to prevent them from freezing and splitting, and clean out your gutters to help prevent ice dams. Make sure to inspect your roof both from the ground and from inside the attic for leaks. Small roof repairs now can save you major costs from further damage later. Make sure to replace your smoke detector batteries and change your furnace filter to ensure your home will remain safe and your furnace will be running at its most efficient.

To make your home warmer inside, take the time to weatherstrip around your doors and windows, and to shrinkwrap your windows. Install outlet gaskets to keep air from leaking in around your outlets and switches, especially on outside walls.

Cost to Winterize a House - Average Project

If your home needs more extensive winterizing, you want to make more permanent changes or see better results on your energy bill, or if you simply want to hire out the tasks, there is a more complete level of winterizing you can undertake. These tasks are done by a professional, and can help seal your home up much tighter, while also ensuring that your energy bills will be much lower. Completing all of these tasks has a cost range of $1,515 to $4,270, depending on the level of winterization required.

Winterizing Checklist & Cost (Average Project)

Projects Cost (professional service)
Service furnace / clean ducts $350 - $1,000
Replace weatherstripping $200 - $600
Inspect roof $100 - $600
Energy audit $145 - $420
Install new thermostat $150 - $400
Clean chimneys $100 - $300
Clean gutters $150 - $225
Put up storm windows $100 - $200
Clean dryer vent $100 - $175
Caulk spaces around windows and doors $50 - $200
Replace smoke detectors $70 - $150
TOTAL 1,515 - $4,270

One of the best ways to prepare for winterizing your home is to start with having an energy audit carried out. This can help you pinpoint the areas that need the most attention, so anything you do after this will be more effective.

For the exterior of your home, start with having the caulk around your windows and doors replaced, and have any old weatherstripping removed and replaced to help stop air leaks. Have your storm windows put back up to help stop drafts, and have your gutters cleaned by a professional to ensure the prevention of ice dams.

You should have your chimney inspected along with your roof, and if needed, make sure your chimney is cleaned and ready for use. This can help prevent future roof damage, as well as avoid potential chimney fires. If you have a dryer with a vent, be sure to have this vent cleaned as well to remove any build up and prevent fires here. If your smoke detectors are older, consider replacing them as well to keep your home and family safe.

Check your heating system is in good repair too. Have your furnace cleaned and inspected, as well as having your ducts inspected also. If your thermostat is old, replace it with a newer smart or digital version to help keep your home comfortable while you save.

Cost to Winterize a Home - Full Project

For those with a bigger budget, there are a full range of projects you can have carried out in order to make your home completely prepared for the winter months. Also, if your home is older, the chances are that it's not nearly as ready for winter as you would like. Many older homes lack insulation, and have outdated heating systems that can mean you pay more to heat a home that never seems to get fully warm. Fully winterizing is costly, but can improve your home's comfort and value while lowering your total energy bills each year. The average cost range to fully winterize a home is $13,500 to $39,250.

Winterizing Checklist & Cost (Average Project)

Projects Cost (professional service)
Install new furnace $2,000 - $11,000
Add insulation $3,000 - $7,000
Install new ductwork $1,900 - $6,000
New storm windows $2,000 - $5,000
Insulate roof deck $1,200 - $2,000
Install gutter guards $1,200 - $2,000
Seal/stain deck $550 - $1,050
Install storm doors $500 - $800
Insulate hot water pipes $100 - $1,000
Insulate hot water heater $150 - $800
Install chimney cap and clean it $300 - $600
TOTAL $12,900 - $37,250

Fully winterizing a home means adding insulation. This includes insulating exterior walls, the attic, crawl spaces, and things like your hot water pipes and water heater to help save energy and prevent pipes from freezing. Consider adding insulation to your roof deck, which will prolong the life of your roof as it prevents it from becoming superheated from the area below and will contribute to the house's energy efficiency.

If necessary, winterizing can also include installing a new furnace and ductwork to make your system more efficient. New storm doors and windows help seal up the exterior of your home. Also, consider cleaning your chimney and installing a chimney cap - this will help make your chimney and fireplace safer. As for the gutters, installing gutter guards will prevent you from needing to clean gutters so often by keeping most debris out. Finally, by staining or sealing your deck you will help prevent damage to the wood from snow and ice.

Whatever Your Budget, Prepare Your Home for Winter

Whether you undertake every task in one category, or you pick and choose what works for your home, make sure to winterize this year. Rising energy costs, labor shortages, and falling temperatures could make this an uncomfortable winter for those who aren't prepared. By taking steps to prepare your home, you'll be thankful when the weather turns cold.