Prepping your home for Winter.
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
I'm not ready for winter to come, but like it or not it is upon us and it will come regardless of how much we protest. With that being said, below are some tips and reminders for preparing our homes for the onset of winter.
Exterior Maintenance reviews
Check the foundation for cracks and seal them. Thin hairline cracks can usually be repaired with a vinyl concrete patching compound. Cracks wider than a hairline can be filled with Polyurethane, silicone, or latex concrete caulk.
Inspect your driveway for cracks or other damage and fix the problems before you seal your driveway. Use a driveway filler/sealer with rubberized asphalt emulsion in pourable squeeze bottles that fill cracks up to 1/8" wide for best results on asphalt driveways.
Take a walk around your home and inspect your windows, doors, or anywhere else where there is wood trim. Look for cracks, holes, and damaged, loose, or rotting wood. Determine whether you can repair the wood if you will need to replace individual pieces, or need to replace all of the trim around a window or door. If the wood isn’t rotting, excessively warped, or otherwise badly damaged, you can simply make a few quick repairs to bring trim back to its original attractive and sound condition. If a piece of trim is loose, use a hammer and nails to refasten it to the wall. Cracks between the trim and the wall can be filled with silicone caulk. Remove old caulk, paint, and debris from the crack with a putty knife, painter’s 5-in-1 tool, or another similar tool. Go over the crack a couple of times with a wire brush to remove the remaining debris.
Replace any cracked or compromised windows.
Check weather stripping around doors. A drafty home is also an inefficient home. To conserve energy and make your home more comfortable, it helps to keep cold and warm air where they belong by applying weather stripping on your windows and doors. Weatherstripping is a fairly simple DIY project that reduces energy use and lowers utility bills.
Seal up exterior pipes and wires. Cover pipes with specially designed insulation from your local hardware store or you may be able to retrofit a pool floats cut to size. Cover exterior faucets with an outdoor faucet protective cover available at your local hardware store.
Install storm windows if needed, clean and repair any screens for spring
Inspect the roof. Call a roofing specialist for any suspected damage.
Clear out gutters, tighten brackets, and loose nails. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are properly functioning. Point any downspouts away from your foundation.
Winterizing your pool. Balance the water and shock the pool. Clean the pool and lower the water level. Drain the pump, filter, and other equipment. Add winter pool chemicals and cover the pool tightly.
Check your interior windows and doors. Seal and caulk where needed.
Insulate exposed piping. Adding insulation around accessible water pipes will save you energy, lower your heating bills, and prevent pipes from freezing during the winter months. Look for water pipes that pass through spaces where cold drafts are likely, such as crawl spaces, garages, and attics. Check the pipe leading directly from the hot water heater and don't ignore hot water lines. Though slower to freeze they are more likely to burst than cold-water lines.
Have your heating system inspected or serviced. Once a year you should take some time to perform a checkup on your natural gas furnace. Routine maintenance and cleaning will help you ward off the cold, keep heating bills low, and make your home more energy-efficient.
Examine fireplaces and wood stoves. For safety reasons, you should examine your chimney each fall. Make sure it is clear of any bird or animal nests. Check to see that the flue opens and closes fully and that it can be locked in either position. You should also check to see if the chimney drafts properly by lighting a small fire and watching the smoke rise up and out. If you have an obstruction, clean your chimney using special rods and brushes designed for this purpose or hire a professional chimney sweep.
Adjust your ceiling fans to create an updraft to redistribute warm air from the ceiling
Check crawls spaces for moisture or mold. Clean or service humidifiers if needed to avoid unnecessary harmful bacteria.
Vacuum and clean vents. Remove debris that may be clogging air intake or output. Clean ducts thoroughly using a high-powered vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter will prevent large amounts of dust from scattering throughout your house. Replace air filters. Replacing filters regularly will improve air quality and reduce stress on your heating and cooling system, allowing them to run more optimally.
Check and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if needed.
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Stay safe and warm this winter, 2020 has been a doozy of a year already.