If you know you have a property you’ll be shutting down for the winter, there are things you must do so that it will withstand the coming cold weather. That means you’ll have to winterize. Winterization may sound technical, but it really just means anticipating places in your home that may be more vulnerable to cold weather. It means protecting your home from places where water and ice can collect and do damage. It means protecting your pipes from freezing and bursting. It means making sure your home works as well in December as it does in July.
It’s important to get an early start on your winterization efforts. You don’t want to procrastinate and be caught off guard when the first snowfall hits. So, let’s not waste any more time. Read on for more information on how to winterize your home.
1.Do: Give your Home a Thorough Once-over
Winterization may sound technical, but it really just means anticipating places in your home that may be more vulnerable to cold weather.
Look all over your home for places you think might be more susceptible to winter damage. That means examining doors and windows to make sure they are properly sealed and insulated. It means examining your pipes to make sure they’re clean and insulated. It means checking your home for any places where water damage has already begun. It means checking your fireplace and chimney to make sure they are in good shape. The better you know your home and are aware of its strengths and weak spots, the better you’ll be able to thoroughly winterize it.
2.Don’t Neglect the Places you Don’t Usually Go
Some places in your home are easier to maintain than others. It’s not hard to get down underneath a bathroom sink and check out your pipes. However, it might be a little more difficult to climb up in your attic or down into the dark corners of your basement. However, the places where you don’t usually go are the places where damage - water or otherwise – can fester and turn into seriously pricy problems. When preparing to inspect your home, make a list of all the parts you want to check. Place the areas you might normally neglect at the top of your list to make sure they get done.
3.Do: Find a Qualified Professional to Help you Winterize
Don’t feel like you have to go it alone. No matter where you live, there are probably good professionals that can give you the help you need when getting your home ready for winter. Professional inspectors, plumbers, and landscapers are just a few of the types of people who can help you winterize your home. When looking for contractors, however, it’s important that you be smart. Make sure anyone you use comes with good references. Make sure companies are fully bonded and insured. And make sure to get all quotes in writing so you don’t get any surprises when it’s time to pay up.
4.Don’t: Pass on the Opportunity to Winterize your Home
Maybe you’ve been thinking that winterizing your home sounds like a lot of effort and money. Maybe you think that you can just risk it – after all, last winter wasn’t so bad, and you’ve never heard of anyone else taking steps to winterize. However, the work involved in winterizing is all well worth it. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, you probably know how unpredictable weather can be. One winter can be relatively mild while the next year can bring snowstorm after snowstorm. It’s much harder to do repair work after snow and ice have already collected. Do the work now to save yourself money and stress.
5.Do: Get a Home Energy Audit
During a home energy audit, a professional comes to your home and evaluates weak spots and places where you can save money heating and cooling your home. Since this is a time where you will be going over virtually every aspect of your home with a fine-tooth comb, why not do it right? Also, many experts say that you should keep the heat running (albeit on a low setting) while your home is vacant in order to prevent damage from freezing. A home energy auditor will help you make the most of that heat by telling you all the best ways to keep it inside your four walls.
6.Don’t: Forget to Look Outside your Home
When you are winterizing your home, don’t just concentrate your efforts to the parts that are indoors. Remember that the parts of your property that are outside your home can be vulnerable to cold winter weather, too. Make sure to trim down trees and bushes that could get heavy with ice and fall onto your home. Move dirt and grass away from your foundation and check it to make sure it’s free of cracks or weak spots. Take the proper steps to retire your pool, fountain and sprinkler system at the end of the summer season. Drain your hoses and put them away inside your home so they aren’t damaged.
7.Do: Make Insulation your Friend
Insulation is a great way to make sure the heat stays inside your home, thus lessoning the chances of freeze damage. Make sure the insulation in your home is in good condition. Insulate any pipes that are exposed or in colder parts of your home. You can even insulate your hot water heater.
8.Don’t: Forget About your Roof
Your roof is the place where snow and ice will collect during the winter. It’s never a good idea for water to sit stagnant on your roof. That’s actually a great way to bring about water damage. Also, the weight of snow and ice can cause your roof to sag, inviting costly repairs. Make sure your roof can get rid of moisture as efficiently as possible. Make sure your gutters and spouts are clear of debris and in good working order. The same goes for the vents in your home. Check your shingles and the roof itself for signs of damage and address any problems before the weather turns bad.
9.Do: Do it yourself
No, I’m not being a hypocrite. Although I said that there are lots of things that you’ll need an experienced professional to do, there are things you can do, too. As a homeowner, you are probably more familiar with the good and bad points of your property than a contractor with all the experience in the world will be. Make note of any problems you have so that you can point them out. Things like insulation and caulking are cheap and readily available. Put on your fix-it hat and attempt them as projects over the course of a few weekends.
The process of winterizing can be detailed an long, but it’s worth it. It’s much better to deal with identifying and fixing problems before they get bad. Make plans to winterize your home before you pull out your first sweater or hat. You don’t want you – or your home – to be left out in the cold!