ProStar Prepare Your Home for Winter
November has rolled around, the crazy windstorms and rain have already started here in the Pacific Northwest, but is your home fully prepared for the long winter ahead? From your garden to checking your windows, there are a few small checklists around your home to inspect and take action on that will save you the time and money in the long run. If you just take a weekend to go through your home and go through these preparations, you can go through this next winter with a peace of mind knowing you’ve taken the steps to keep your family and your home safer this season.
Windows and Doors
Keeping your home warm during the winter is a priority for most. But more than just keeping the fireplace stocked or racking up a heating bill, you need to be sure that your home is going to retain heat. This means checking for drafts around your windows and doors, ensuring that they’re caulked inside and out.
You’ll want to check your weather-stripped as well around windows and door frames. A leak in your weather stripping can mean a drastic heat loss when you need to retain everything you can this season. Consider replacing the stripping if necessary. Inspect your wooden window frames for signs of rot and decay – especially if you live in an older home. If you notice either, it’s time to replace the framing to keep it structurally intact. The harsh weather can damage it further.
Lawn, Garden, and Deck
It’s not just the inside of your house that you need to worry about, but the outside area around it as well. Especially in the Northwest, trimming overgrown branches is an essential. Keep branches away from your house and electrical wires – branches that are iced-over or blown away by the wind can cause damage and maybe even leave you without power.
You’ll want to do some outside cleaning maintenance as well. Go through and ensure your planters are washed and brought inside so they won’t crack, patio furniture is covered or brought inside, and wash out the dirt and pine needles from your wooden deck so mold and mildew don’t grow between the boards. You’ll want to check for splintering, decay, and inspect damage on your deck as well so you can stop it from spreading throughout the winter.
With your garden as well, you’ll want to do a run through and make sure everything is in order. Check your outdoor faucets to ensure that they’re shut off, the water is drained from the pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads so you don’t end up with a burst pipe (or a hefty water bill). Remove your hoses so they don’t crack and cover your faucets so they don’t get water damaged. Take a look at your snow and rain drains to make sure they’re letting out away from your house so you won’t end up with foundation problems – you can add dirt to slopes that might lead to your home. Take some time to inspect your outdoor lighting as well. As the days get shorter and nights darker, having light outside can help prevent accidents.
Gutters, Roof, and Drains
A leak in your roof is never fun, but it can be a detrimental in the winter. Look for warped or damaged shingles on your roof and replace them immediately. Inspect your chimney, walls, and skylights for faulty flashing and seal any areas or joints that could open up with caulking or roofing cement. Any vents or openings on the exterior of your home could welcome insects, rodents, and birds looking for a warm place so make sure you’ve closed any potential entry.
Your gutters are going to be working overtime in the winter, so make sure they’re cleared of any debris and leaves. Check that the downspouts are pointing away from your home so that they don’t cause any flooding around your foundation or water damage from rain or snow.
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
What about your home heating? Not just preventing drafts, you’ll want to give your house a once-over to make sure you’re all set up to keep your family toasty as the temperature drops.
If you have a fireplace, go through your firebox and flue system, making sure they’re cleaned out of soot and creosote while also checking for cracks that could be a fire hazard. Examine the fireplace for drafts and see if the damper is warped or worn out. You may even think about getting a Chimney Balloon to seal the area.
Your heating and air systems need a once over as well. Check your air filter in your furnace to make sure it’s running efficiently and improving indoor air quality, bleed the valves on your hot-water radiator, flush your hot water tank to remove sediment and double-check your pressure relief valve. As you should year-round, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Thermostat getting old? Maybe it’s time to replace it with a programmable unit. Just like with your windows, go through the ducts in your attic, basement, and crawl spaces to look for exposed ducts and make sure they’re sealed. You can install foam-insulating sheets behind your outlets as well on exterior walls to reduce the amount of outside airflow coming in.
Now is also a great time to make transitions from your summer setups to winter as well, removing air conditions from your windows or covering them with insulated liners so you don’t let in any drafts.
ProStar wants to make sure our clients are safe this winter, so please feel free to ask us with any questions. Also if you do not feel comfortable taking these actions on your own, please contact Home Check Solutions to make you and your home ready for winter. They are even running a special this month and doing free crawlspace and attic checks!
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