10 Areas for Winterizing Your Home
With the first rain of the season, the lazy days of summer are past us, Your winter prep to do list is waiting!
1. Block those Leaks
Most of the problems we experience with our homes during the cold, wet and windy months come from water infiltration, condensation and air leakage. So to get ready for winter requires the reduction or elimination of the sources of infiltration and leakage.
-Close the spaces and gaps under your doors.
-Maintain and replace worn weather stripping around doors.
-Caulk gaps around window frames.
2. Clean those Gutters!
-Remove leaves and dirt with a spatula or scraper; clogged drains can form dams causing water to back up.
-When hosing out the gutters look for leaks or misaligned pipes.
-Replace old and rusty gutters and/or repair any leaks or cracks.
-Water should be diverted at least 5 feet away from the house.
3. Insulate Yourself
-Insulate any accessible hot water pipes
-Check the insulation in your attic and crawlspace to be sure it has not been dislodged or has fallen down.
-If you can see the ceiling joists in the attic, you need insulation. It costs a little money but you get it back quick.
-Saves on your heating bills and makes your home far more comfortable than you might imagine.
4. Check your Ventilation
-Check around your house and re-screen all torn or broken ventilation openings. Rodents love any way to get into your home for the winter.
-Make sure any bath fans are functioning and are venting to the outside, not into the attic
-Make sure your dryer vent is vented to the outside and is not terminating under your house
5. Install a Vapor Barrier in your Crawl Space
-Prevent mold, moisture, rot, and humidity from damaging your home! Unwanted water and moisture under your home left unattended can bring a whole host of problems from mold to mildew to structural damage and degraded air quality in your house.
-Make sure the ground is sloped away from your house so that water doesn’t run or pond next to or under your home.
-If you have water collecting under your house, purchase a sump pump and give it a test run before winter sets in.
6. Check your Furnace
-Toss out the old filter. Replace with a new one.
-Have your furnace inspected. PG&E will inspect for free.
-Have your furnace cleaned and tuned.
-Turn on your furnace before you need it to make sure it’s working!
-Keep your heater set at 68 degrees to conserve your heating bill.
-Make sure your thermostat is programmed correctly.
7. Get your Ducts in a Row
-A home with central heating can lose up to 60% efficiency if the ductwork is not well connected and insulated.
-Have connections and insulation of your ducts checked.
8.Don’t Forget the Chimney!
-Make an appointment with a Chimney Sweep before winter sets in for a thorough inspection.
-Install a protective cap for your chimney with a screen if you don’t already have one. This protects your chimney from foreign objects and rain.
9. Take care of your garden & grounds
-Turn off those sprinklers. Save your water bill and set them to 1 or 2 times per week. Turn them off completely when the rain sets in.
-Cover your bulb beds with shredded hay to protect them from the harsh winter elements.
-Cover your tropical flowers and roses with a burlap sack when temperatures are forecast to dip into freezing. This will keep them warm and protected.
10. Be prepared for power outages and emergencies:
-Clean & test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Change batteries if needed.
-Check your fire extinguisher. Make sure it is where it is supposed to be.
-Decorate safely for the holidays. Do not overload circuits or use worn extension cords.
-Prepare for those power outages by restocking your supply of flashlights with extra batteries. Make sure they are easily accessible and in working order.
-Have an emergency plan and be prepared for severe winter storms: http://www.sonoma-county.org/fire/em_winter_storm_prep.htm