This is the time of year that most of us start preparing for the holiday season. In addition to the home decorating that may be done for the holidays, we also need to prepare our homes for the winter season. If we fail to winterize our home, the cold temperatures of winter can cause some inconvenient problems. These problems can also turn into costly repairs.
Whether you live in a condominium, townhouse or single family home, there are things that should to be done to prepare for winter temperatures. Here are some of the items that may need to done.
- Check windows and exterior doors for leaks. Use weather stripping around doors to prevent drafts. Replace cracked glass in windows and caulk as needed. If you have storm windows, now is a good time to replace the screens with the storm windows.
- Check for adequate insulation. In addition to checking the attic insulation, make sure that the crawl spaces have proper insulation.
- Turn off the sprinkler system and blow out the system with compressed air. Sounds like a basic type of prevention, but a frozen sprinkler system can be a large headache when turned on in the spring.
- Check the roof for needed repairs. Inspect the flashing and the shingles or tiles.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. It is obvious when the gutters are clear of debris, but use a water hose to make sure that the downspouts are clear.
- Inspect the foundation for needed repairs. Clean debris from around the foundation to insure adequate drainage. Seal any cracks in the foundation to eliminate leaks and drafts.
- Drain outside faucets while checking the foundation. This includes unhooking any water hoses connected the exterior faucets. Consider installing insulating covers for the faucets.
- Have a professional inspect the HVAC system. This is especially important for oil or gas systems that have not been turned on since the previous spring. Consider having the HVAC professional install a programmable thermostat during the inspection. Also, change the filters and set up a monthly schedule to change the filters in the future.
- Have all fireplaces inspected. If needed, install a cap or screen to keep out pests. Check that the damper is working correctly. If the fireplace burns wood, an annual cleaning can prevent creosote fires.
- Check the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. If your home does not have any detectors, now would be a good time to install them.
Because of the different climates and the different types of homes, preparing a single list that is perfect for everyone is impossible. Some areas of the country will require more extreme measures because of the extreme winter temperatures. A condominium will require less preparation than a single family home. Hopefully, using this list as a starting point will help you make a comfortable and efficient winter home.