Although we’ve experienced an unusually warm start to fall, colder weather is just around the corner. Before the temperature drops and the days get shorter, take some time now to safeguard your home from the impending winter. Below is a checklist for winterizing your home.
Weatherproof doors and windows
On a windy day, examine your doors and windows for gaps and feel for air leaks. Apply weatherstripping or caulk around problem areas to prevent air leaks and reduce your heating bill. To increase energy efficiency, install double-paned windows when you are ready to replace your current windows.
Prepare the pipes
Pipes can burst from freezing temperatures and cause expensive repairs. Insulate exposed piping in your crawlspace, attic, outside walls, etc., with electrical heating tape and foam insulation, when possible. Additionally, exterior faucets should be drained of water and turned off. If you are shutting down a property for the winter, shut off the water supply completely and drain the plumbing system.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
With heating systems in full swing, fireplaces burning, and holiday meals cooking, winter is the peak season for house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Check batteries in all detectors and replace them as needed. Smoke alarms should be installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside of every sleeping area and on every level of your home.
Clean the gutters
In general, it’s recommended that you clean your gutter systems once every six months, ideally before winter. The buildup of snow, dead leaves, and debris in your drainage system can cause significant damage to your home. If water fails to drain successfully from your roof, it can damage your foundation, walls, and attic. If trapped water freezes, it can crack the gutters, which may lead to repair or replacement.
Check and clean the fireplace
Although you may be anxious to light a fire on the first cold night, be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned before the winter hits. A thorough inspection will determine if there is creosote buildup, or if an animal has been dwelling in there during the off-season. Be sure the flue damper is in good working order, opening and closing fully. In addition, inspect the brick in the fireplace for open mortar joints, which can spread the fire quickly.
Take care of outdoor furniture and landscape
Prepare your yard for winter by covering up patio furniture, the grill, and outdoor toys, or move them to a covered space. If needed, give your deck a fresh coat of sealer before the winter. Drain out the gas in your lawn mower, remove old plant matter from the garden, and apply a fresh layer of mulch to garden beds.
By winterizing your home in the fall, you can enjoy the winter without worry. Start with one project this weekend, and before you know it, you’ll accomplish everything on your list!