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The Home Depot

10 Steps to Winterize a Vacant Home

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Seasonal > 10 Steps to Winterize a Vacant Home
10 Steps to Winterize a Vacant Home

If you own a property that will be sitting unused through the cold winter months, it’s important to take steps to prepare it for cold weather. That’s because freezing rain and snow can cause major damage to your property. When water freezes it expands, which could lead to burst pipes and major water damage. Save yourself costly repairs and major stress by taking steps to prevent problems associated with the cold weather.

 
  1. If you own a property that will be sitting unused through the winter months, it’s important to take steps to prepare it for cold weather.

    1.Drain your Plumbing

    Try to eliminate as much water as you can from your home’s plumbing system. The less water there is, the lower the chances of damage from freezing. You should also drain your water heater. Of course, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate water from your home completely. To help make sure the water left in the system doesn’t cause damage, pour a little AG antifreeze in your toilet tank and down bathtub, shower and sink drains.

  2. 2.Pipes

    Another way to lessen the chance of burst pipes is to make sure they are properly insulated. There are several different kinds of pipe insulation. You can choose polyethylene or neoprene foam or fiberglass wrap. The job is easy to do yourself and insulation doesn’t cost a lot of money.

  3. 3.Windows

    Make sure your windows keep the bad weather outside of your home where it belongs. Check to make sure there aren’t any cracks or damage around the edges of your windows. Take advantage of windy weather to see if there is any air getting into your windows. If so, figure out how best to seal the cracks. Sometimes the best solution to drafty windows is to take them out and purchase more modern, energy efficient ones. Also, if your windows have removable awnings, now is a good time to take them down.

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  5. 4.In your Basement

    Your basement is another place where you can be vulnerable to damaging water leaks. Check around your basement for signs of water damage. If there are already places where water has been making its way in, bad winter weather will only add to the problem. Often, problems in the basement are neglected because they’re typically not places where homeowners spend a lot of time. Look around for weak spots and address them before you lock up the house.

  6. 5.On Top of your Home

    When you are prepping your property for winter, don’t forget to look up. Your roof is the first point of contact for ice and snow. Your roof was designed with safety measures to make sure water and ice drain away as quickly as possible without causing major damage – but it’s up to you to make sure those safety measures work. Have your roof inspected by a professional to identify any weak spots where water can get in. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris. Make sure your roof vents are clear and in good working order.

  7. 6.Outside your Home

    Don’t neglect your property outside the property when you are preparing to shut it down for the winter. Check around the foundation of the house to make sure it’s in good condition. The foundation should slope away from the home to eliminate risk of water damage. Also, make sure to trim down overgrown trees and bushes. When the weather gets cold and icy, these things can snap and break – and that can cause major damage to your home. Also, anything systems, decorative fountains and pools deserve special attention.

  8. 7.Turn Down your Heat, but Don’t Turn it Off

    When you are prepping your property for winter, don’t forget to look up. Your roof is the first point of contact for ice and snow. Your roof was designed with safety measures to make sure water and ice drain away as quickly as possible without causing major damage – but it’s up to you to make sure those safety measures work. Have your roof inspected by a professional to identify any weak spots where water can get in. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris. Make sure your roof vents are clear and in good working order.

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  10. 8.Caulking and Sealing

    Windows aren’t the only places where cold air and water can sneak in and wreak havoc. Check your doors, too. You can apply weather stripping to your doors to make sure that they keep cold air, rain and snow out. Inspect your foundation for cracks, and seal any that your find.

  11. 9.Insulate

    Your pipes aren’t the only things you can insulate. There is insulation all over your home, working to ensure your home stays warm. Make sure it’s all up to par and doing its job. One place that insulation is key is on your roof. If your roof is well insulated, it’s harder for snow and ice to linger on it.

  12. 10.Finding Professional Help

    Your home is made up of lots of moving parts. A proper winterization technique may have you reaching out to several professionals to make sure your home is up to par – especially if the property has been damaged or neglected in the past. That can be very overwhelming and very expensive.

     

    Whew! You’ve made it to the end! Yes, winterization may seem like a lot of work – but trust me when I say that it’s worth it. As a homeowner, you already know that your property is your investment. You’ve already invested a good deal of money in your home, so don’t let your valuable funds go down the drain by allowing your home to fall into disrepair. With a little wisdom and a little know-how, your property will be fully winterized in no time!

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