Halloween is now behind us. So, before we start planning for the holidays lets talk about winterizing your home!! Before you know it we’ll be in the icy cold rains of winter. As the days become more rainy than sunny you think maybe I should clean those gutters before the real rain sets in. Before you know it you find yourself gazing out the window at your very own waterfall. Unfortunately its not all beauty. There are serious implications when you leave your home unwinterized. Over time that beautiful waterfall will affect your roof, foundation and siding. And now that unplanned water feature will cost you BIG TIME!! So lets get ahead of it. Plus there’s nothing like preserving the beauty and function of your home. Seriously it’s probably your biggest asset so why not keep it in good shape. Here’s a check list that will help keep that asset in good condition building positive equity for years to come.
o Consider an energy audit: This is a great way to find out where you use and loose the most energy in your home. You will discover where your home is drafty and what you can do to eliminate it. You’ll be able to see how well your insulation in working and if you need to add more or replace it. They’ll look at your furnace and water heater along with checking the condition and efficiency of your windows. This test will let you know how well your systems are working, how efficient your home is and what you’ll need to do to improve it. This test can save you tons of money in the long run and it helps the environment.
o Remove window AC: Time to take them out and consider using weatherstripping to seal any gaps that may allow cool air to seep into your cozy warm home.
o Deep Cleaning: No need to wallow in your own filth. This is your last chance to comfortably open all the doors and windows get out the scrub brushes and clean house. Clean the carpets, round up items for donation and get rid of all those odds and ends that you haven’t used for a while. Out with the old. Make room to live!!
o Clean Dryer Vents: This often gets overlooked and if left unchecked could result in useful bedding for rodents and could also be a fire hazard.
o Check safety devices: Make sure CO/detectors and smoke detectors are ready to keep on ticking. Not a bad time to make sure the fire extinguishers are ready for action as well.
o Have your furnace serviced and filter replaced: as far as replacing the filter one good YouTube video should get you there. If its still a bit out of your league please call a servicetechnician. After a home is a year old I usually recommend getting a home warranty. Lots of companies offer them and they run about $300-$500 a year depending on coverage. With a simple service call a tech will come out check and service your home systems and often major appliances. Usually cost of repairs or replacement is completely covered by the warranty.
o Yard Prep: Rake those leaves and clear out all garden beds and planters. This may also be the time to prune your vines, hedges and trees. Check the maintenance schedule specific to your plants. I try to do the last weeding right before the first frost. Final mow and last dose of your preferred fertilizers for the lawn. This is usually late October for me. During this time I take in or cover all non essential outdoor furniture and water hoses.
o Cover exterior faucets: Faucet covers are essential in cold weather areas. If you’re able shut the water off to your exterior spigots and open to release at the faucet head to ensure no water is held in the pipe. If you’re in an area that freezes this could cause a pipe to burst. Often a costly fix if not caught immediately. Best just to play it safe. Drain and cover the exterior faucets.
o Gutters and Roof: Clean the gutters and make sure all downspouts are clear. If left alone water could be directed too close to the foundation and siding causing major issues. While I’m up there I take a look at the condition of the shingles and see if there’s any areas that are visibly curling missing or need replacement. It’s a good idea to have a trusted roofer look at any flashing and the condition of vent boots yearly. I usually have this done in the spring while I’m getting any moss and debris removed from the wet winter.
o Seal Critter Gaps: High and low. Take a look around and seal off areas that are ideal for little critters to take shelter.
o Exterior paint and repairs:
Inspect hand rails and siding for chipped or peeling paint. Exposed wood can take on damaging moisture and attract wood destroying pests to your home. This will eventually rot the wood and require costly replacement. If you notice railings
are loose or broken now is the time to take care of it. As surfaces get slippery you’ll need these railing ready to work.
I know this seems like a lot. Although some folks could get most of these items completed in a weekend it may take others all winter. If you’re not the type to take this on yourself there are lots of companies out there that are happy to help. If you have any questions about how to approach this or who to call start by contacting me. I’m happy to help you find the right people to help winterize your home.