Winterizing your home is a task that can sound all too mysterious; one of those semi-impossible ideals that "other homeowners" do – you know, the ones who do everything right.
The good news is, it’s all very doable. If you're not sure where to start, then welcome to Winterization 101 where you'll discover the world of blues that you can avoid with just a week or two of planning and effort this fall.
Prevent costly damage to your home with this 10-point checklist:
- Change furnace filters and create a schedule to stay on track throughout the year.
- Get your furnace and thermostat inspected. If there's anything wrong, you want to find out now while the weather is mild and you have plenty of time to address it.
- Take the covers off your ducts and shine a flashlight in there. If the dirt is "excessive" or you see any mold or signs of pests, get those cleaned. If all looks clear, the EPA says you don’t have to clean ducts every year. While you’re at it, clean out your dryer vents. Failure to clean dryer vents causes roughly 34 percent of dryer fires according to FEMA.
- On the exterior of your home, rake away leaves, limbs and other debris that could provide shelter for rodents, insects and other unwanted guests. Make sure foundation vent covers and doors to your crawlspace are intact and tightly sealed.
- Check your exterior walls, windows and doors for gaps, loose connections or failing seals. Address those with caulk or expanding foam; make repairs as needed. Rake up debris from around your daylight basement windows, where it could damage the seal. Put a cover on your A/C unit. Cut back encroaching tree branches (always prune at the node, where one branch meets another).
- Look at the weather stripping around your doors and windows. Does it need replacement?
- Detach your garden hoses, drain them and put them away. Fasten faucet-protectors on the exterior faucets. If possible, turn off the water source to outside faucets that won’t be in use during the winter.
- Got sprinklers? Turn off and drain those systems too.
- Be sure that your roof is clear of moss, dirt or debris. Clean out the gutters and downspouts. Check the chimney, if you've got one, for critters or build-up. Any loose or missing shingles? Plan to get those fixed. Roofs are quite slippery once the rain starts, so hire an expert for these tasks if possible.
- Make sure your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are in good working order, and replace batteries where needed.
With a little effort, you can look forward to a snug, uneventful winter. And while you’re winterizing, find out if your homeowners insurance is optimized as well. Ask us for a complimentary insurance review and quote.