Winterizing Your Home

CHECK THE EXTERIOR, DOORS AND WINDOWS

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the window, prime and paint exposed wood.

HVAC SYSTEMS

  • Get your HVAC system serviced, and have your duct work checked to be sure the air flow is uninterrupted and free of holes from pests.
  • Reverse all ceiling fans in the house. This will help push warm air downward and force it to recirculate.
  • Change the air filters in your home.
  • Check the cold air return vents and make sure they are not blocked by furniture. Your furnace needs these to operate at high efficiency.

SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • After replacing batteries, test all detectors to make sure they work.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace your existing one if it is older than 10 years.

CHECK FOUNDATIONS

  • Rake away all debris and vegetation from the foundation.
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  • Tuck-point or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
  • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
  • Secure crawlspace entrances.

PREVENT PLUMBING FREEZES

  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  • Shut off the water to your hose bibs inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and drain the lines. Then insulate the spigot itself.
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes that pass through unheated areas of your home, like the garage for instance.
  • Flush your water heater to remove built-up sediment.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.

GET THE FIREPLACE READY

  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  • If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuck-point, if necessary.

PREPARE LANDSCAPING & OUTDOOR SURFACES

  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  • Turn off your sprinkler system.
  • Clear the gutters of fallen leaves and debris.
  • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and left bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
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