How To Winterize Your Home?
Here are 10 ways to help you prepare your home for winter season:
- Inspect the exterior, all doors and all windows:
It is very important to inspect exterior of exposed points and cracks around pipes. Make sure you seal them. Place weather-stripping around doors to prevent any cold air from entering the home and caulk windows(if you have storm windows, install them). Make sure to replace any cracked glass in windows and doors. In the basement, consider protecting window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
2. Inspect the Furnace:
Have HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts. Make sure you stock up on furnace filters and change them once a month. Remove any flammable material from the area surrounding the furnace. Check your thermostat to make sure it works properly and consider a programmable thermostat. For homes that work by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and once water appears, close them.
3. Prepare the Fireplace:
Have a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. Cap or screen the top of the chimney to prevent rodents and birds from entering. Buy firewood or chop wood and store in a dry place away from the exterior of the home. Check to make sure that the fireplace damper is working properly. If necessary check the mortar between bricks and tuck point.
4. Inspect Roof, Gutters and Downspouts:
Replace worn roof shingles or tiles. Add extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air from creeping to the roof and causing ice dams. Make sure to check any flashing to prevent water from entering the home. Clean out the gutters and spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris. Look into installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to get the water away from the home.
5. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
Make sure smoke detector is installed. Buy extra batteries and change them when daylight savings ends. Install a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace and/or water heater. Make sure to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work properly. Buy a fire extinguisher and store in a common area. Replace the extinguisher if older than 10 years.
6. Check Foundations:
Inspect the foundation and rake away all debris and edible vegetation. To keep small animals from crawling under the house seal all entry points. Tuckpoint and/or seal foundation cracks and secure crawlspace entrances. Check sill plates for pest infestation or dry rot.
7. Service Weather-Specific Equipment:
- Lawnmowers- drain gas
- Snow blowers- service, tune-up
- Rakes and shovels- replace if worn
- Summer gardening equipment- clean, dry and store
- Ice choppers- sharpen
- Salt- buy bags
8. Prevent Plumbing Freezes:
Make sure you are aware of the location of your water main in case of an emergency. Drain all garden hoses and store if need be. Inspect all plumbing pipes and insulate if exposed. Drain air conditioner pipes and Turn off AC that has a water shut-off valve. If you plan of going on vacation during the winter time, set the heat on to at least 55 degrees.
9. Prepare an Emergency Kit:
Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency. Prepare these items and store in a common area:
- Indoor candles, matches and/or lighters
- Utility companies’s phone numbers on hand
- Battery back-up for computer and sensitive electronic equipment
- Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies
- First-aid kit
10. Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces:
If the home has branches that hang too close to the house and/or electrical wires, make sure to trim them. Seal driveways, all brick patios and all wooden decks. Remove any sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.