Get your home ready for Winter

By: Diana Budway

Get your home ready for Winter

Tags: Home, Caulking, Window, Heat, Roof, Garage, Furnace, Sell, Home, Buyer, Inspection

Walk around the exterior of your home. Look to see if the caulking around your window frames and doors need to be redone. Check the weather stripping around the outside doors. The doors should seal completely so the cold air does not come in and the warm air is not lost.

Pipes, vents, wiring entering the home not only does heat escape from these openings, but water can enter and may eventually cause structural damage and mold problems. Check the caulking around these too. Also, make sure that the vents are unobstructed, especially free from snow.

Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. In some places it may be too hard to get a clear view of the room so use binoculars for a preliminary inspection. Winter weather can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof. The longer you wait to repair any issues the greater the chance of further damage inside the home. This could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It is worthwhile to have a qualified professional inspect both the attic and the roof. Birds like to sit on top of the chimneys and vents to keep warm, so ensure that they are covered that allows for ventilation but prevents birds and other small animals from falling inside.

Clear gutters and eaves troughs of leaves, sticks, and other debris. Consider installing leaf guards if your gutters can accommodate them - they are real time savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Overflowing water from these can cause icicles that can seriously harm a person, pet or even a vehicle. Plus, the overflow can leave large amounts of ice that can be treacherous on the walkways and driveways.

Drain garden hoses and store them indoors or the garage to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. They will freeze and burst, causing leaks and potentially serious water damage both inside and outside the home.

Now is the time to have the furnace inspected to make sure it's safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide no-cost inspections, but they can be very busy this time of year. Schedule a technician as soon as possible. You don’t want it breaking down when it’s cold outside! Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure to insert them the correct way. I have been on many home inspections and the filters are either clogged or put in backwards. Using a clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving you money and energy.

Before you light the fireplace have the firebox and chimney professionally cleaned. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up to dangerous levels and cause a serious chimney fire if not removed