Winterizing Your Home

It’s that time of the year again!

Latest fashions in warm clothing have begun to overwhelm shopping malls, prompting us to prepare for the upcoming winter.
Regardless of your location, you are bound to experience this seasonal change—unless you live in Hawaii of course. As you begin replacing t-shirts with wool sweaters, you should also start thinking of hot ideas to help your home dress warm this winter.

Here are ten great tips to help you out!

furnace inspection1. Furnace Inspection

  • Get an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts
  • Stock up on, and change furnace filters monthly
  • Consider using a programmable thermostat
  • If your home uses a hot-water heater, open the valves slightly and close them when water appears
  • Remove all flammable material around your furnace

 

2. Get the Fireplace Ready

  • Cover the chimney top to block out rodents and birds
  • Ensure that the chimney is clean and free of soot and creosote
  • Store firewood in a dry place, away from the exterior of your home
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuck point

Rayn Properties Architectural Images3. Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

  • Seal any crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes
  • Caulk windows and weather-strip doors to keep the cold air out
  • Replace any cracked glass in your windows; if you choose to replace the entire window, be sure to prime and pain all exposed wood
  • Got a basement? Protect its window walls by covering them with plastic shields
  • Install storm windows or switch out summer screen with glass replacements from storage

article-page-main-ehow-images-a07-g5-ci-calculate-gutter-downspout-capacity-800x8004. Inspect Roofs, Gutters and Downspouts

  • If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, add extra insulation to prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams
  • Inspect flashing to ensure water can’t enter the home
  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts using a water hose, to remove debris
  • Consider installing leaf guard on gutters or extensions on downspouts to direct water away from your home

5. Service Weather-Specific equipment

  • Drain gas from lawnmowers
  • Service or tune-up snow blowers
  • Replace any eroded rakes or snow shovels
  • Clean and pack away all summer gardening equipment in a dry place
  • Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt/sand

6. Check Foundations

  • Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation
  • Prevent small animals from crawling under the house by sealing up entry points and foundation cracks
  • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation
  • Secure crawlspace entrances

7. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Store extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater
  • Test both detectors to make sure they work
  • If your fire extinguisher is older than 10 years, replace it

pipes freeze8. Prevent Plumbing Freezes

  • Locate your water main in case you need to shut it off in an emergency
  • Drain all garden hoses
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes
  • Drain air conditioner pipes and turn off your AC if it has a water shut-off valve
  • Going on vacation? Leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees

snow-spring-fall-winter-walk-dog-tree-house-lonely-friend9. Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces

  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or to electrical wires
  • Consult a gardener to find out when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs, e.g. dahlias, in areas where the ground freezes
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks
  • Don’t automatically remove dead vegetation from gardens as some provide attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area

3339first_aid_kit10. Prepare an Emergency Kit

  • Buy indoor candles and matches (or lighter) in case of a power outage
  • Store your utility companies’ phone numbers in an accessible place, e.g. on the fridge or inside the phone book
  • Keep a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment
  • Store extra cases of bottled water and non-perishable food supplies, blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and accessible location
  • Have an evacuation plan ready, in case of a major emergency!