Owning a home is a responsibility, and each season there are maintenance tasks to perform in order to keep it running in tip-top order. Here are 14 ways to prepare your home for winter.
Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter
- Get a heating system tune-up. Ask your heating system technician to perform an inspection on your heating system to make sure it’s working to its peak efficiency. Get it done early. You don’t want it breaking down on the coldest day of winter, when everyone else needs a service technician!
- Change the filters. When the seasons change, it’s always a good idea to install a fresh filter on your furnace.
- Reverse the ceiling fans. Run the blades in a clockwise direction to create an updraft that will push the heated air downward and keep you warmer.
- Caulk around windows and doors. Air gaps create expensive leaks for your warm air. If you feel a cold breeze, caulk around your windows and doors with a silicone caulk. Weatherstrip to make sure you cannot see daylight between outside doors and their frames. Examine sills and frames for signs of decay, and windows for cracks or gaps.
- Sweep the chimney. Before you light up the fireplace, hire a professional chimney sweep to clean creosote buildup from inside your chimney. They will also inspect your chimney for signs of decay or damage.
- Rake or mulch the leaves. Rake the leaves to avoid having them mold or kill the grass underneath. Instead, you can mow or mulch dry leaves into tiny pieces to help nourish your lawn as they decompose.
- Winterize the mower. If you leave gasoline in the mower over the winter, the remaining fuel will decompose and make it difficult to start the engine in the spring. Either run the engine until the tank is empty, or add stabilizer to the fuel and fill the tank to the top. Run the engine briefly to distribute it through the engine.
- Clean the gutters. Prepare your home for winter by cleaning debris from your gutters. When gutters are clogged, there is no place for the water to drain. And when the temperature drops below freezing, that backed-up water forms what is called an ice dam. That dam expands and can damage your gutters, siding and roof, causing the water to back up into your house.
- Inspect the roof. While you’re on the ladder, scan the roof for signs of damage, or loose or missing shingles. Remove leaves and debris and make repairs.
Related: Bob Vila’s Winter Preparation Checklist
- Turn off the exterior water spigots. At the main valve, turn off your outdoor faucets and drain any remaining water. Remove the garden hose, drain the water from it, and store it. Don’t forget to have your lawn service drain the sprinkler system in order to avoid freezing, cracking and leaks.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Perform an alarm test on each of your detectors to make sure they are working correctly. It is a good time to review your fire evacuation plan with the family, too. Designate a meeting area outside the home to gather in case of an emergency.
- Inspect outdoor lighting. It gets dark early in winter, so make sure all your outside lights and security lights are working and that bulbs are not burned out.
- Secure handrails. When walkways are icy, you’ll need the support of a sturdy handrail. Ensure that your rails are secure.
- Prepare a storm kit. Prepare your home for winter by locating the candles, matches and flashlights. Know where the extra blankets are. Stash a few bottles of water, some non-perishable food, extra batteries and a first-aid kit. If the power goes out, you’ll want to be prepared.
Planning on Traveling This Winter? You’ll Want Home Watch to Secure Your Home.
When you’re away from home in winter you want to make your home look lived in. Watch this Home Watch in Winter Video to see some of the ways Golden Rule Home Watch protects your home after a snowstorm.
Whenever you are away from your Northern Virginia home, whether for a short vacation or an extended visit, have a professional watch over your home for you. At Golden Rule Home Watch, we make regular visits to your home through our Residential Home Watch Service, inspecting it using our electronic checklist personalized for your home. We then report to you after each visit. If we do find a problem, like a burst or leaking pipe, we will let you know and offer to make arrangements for repairs. We let the repair person in on your behalf, stay with them while the job is performed, and inspect their work to our satisfaction.
Contact Golden Rule Home Watch today for a free initial consultation.