Preparing Yourself and House for Winter, Part One

It’s something I don’t like to think about but winter is upon us and before we see any weather that can potentially harm our home or even our own well-being, it would be advisable to take precautions now.  So we did some research as to how to prepare ourselves and homes for winter.

Let’s start with the outside of the house beginning with the roof.

1.       Roof and Chimney (It’s time to put on the mountain climbing gear or you can inspect your roof with binoculars per Bob Vila’s recommendation.)

  •         Examine the shingles to see if they’re worn and replace those that are failing.  If your roof is under 10 years old it is probably in good shape unless there have been severe storms.  But if the roof is over 15 years old it might be best to have a roofing contractor examine it.
  •         Check around skylights, vents, chimneys, and other protrusions to make sure the seal is tight.  Caulk where needed.  Debris tends to collect around skylights so it would be good to clear it and the roof of all debris as it could eventually clog the gutter system.
  •         Have the chimney inspected and cleaned every year by a professional to prevent the risk of fire especially if you burn wood.
  •        Installing a chimney cap with a rain hood and screen will minimize rain damage and keep out birds and squirrels.

2.       Gutters and Trees

  •         Clear gutters and downspouts of all debris which will help prevent the buildup of ice on the roof.  The faster water can drain away the less likely it will melt and refreeze on your roof or under the shingles.
  •        Examine trees around your property to see if there are any limbs overhanging power lines or could possibly break damaging the house or hitting your car during a winter snow storm.  Trim them to prevent all such damage and power outage.

3.       Siding and Foundation

  •         Caulk or repair gaps around windows, doors, trim and vents.  It’s estimated that sealing leaks around your home could save you as much as 20% off your heating and cooling bills.
  •         Rake away all debris from the foundation.
  •         Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks.  Mice can slip through spaces as thin as a dime.
  •         Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.

 4.      Plumbing

  •         Drain outside water spigots and drain all garden hoses.
  •         Insulate exposed plumbing pipes
  •         Know where your water main is located in case you need to shut it off in an emergency.

Be sure to check out Part Two of this series for a checklist of what to do inside your home in preparation for the cold months ahead.