Is Your Home Prepared For Winter? Steps To Winterization
As winter approaches, the increased rainfall and dropping temperatures are something we need to prepare for. Our cold and wet climate can wreak havoc on our homes if we let it, but the good news is there are some simple steps we can take to prepare our homes for winter and keep a well-maintained property for years to come.
Clean Your Fireplace
It’s best practice to get an annual chimney inspection and an annual cleaning before the first fire of each cold season. Be on the lookout for animal nests and the buildup of soot and other debris. These can all pose a problem to proper ventilation, potentially causing smoke to enter your home. Another concern is the buildup of creosote. Creosote is a tarry substance caused by burning wood or coal and is a serious fire hazard. The restriction of ventilation will cause the rate of creosote buildup to accelerate, this is why you don’t want to skip annual cleanings. The longer you go without a chimney cleaning, the more quickly creosote will build up, increasing the risk of a chimney fire. Chimney fires can damage the integrity of your chimney and mantle, or worse, lead to a house fire.
Clean and Repair Your Gutters
As we enter winter in the Pacific Northwest, it’s crucial to make sure your gutter system is prepared for the increase in rainfall. It’s recommended to get your gutters cleaned twice a year, in the fall and late winter/ early spring. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up which can potentially cause water damage to your roof, siding, foundation or interior, and can even cause your gutters to pull away from your house. Make sure you don’t forget about your downspouts, they are an important part of your gutter system. Fall is also a great time to get any repairs you need done or to install gutter guards.
Protect Your Pipes
When water freezes into ice it slightly expands, this is why the freeze/ thaw effect is so powerful and can cause serious damage to any part of your property, especially your pipes. A burst pipe is more than an inconvenience and can end up in costly repairs. A few steps you can take to prepare your pipes for winter are:
- know where your cut-off valves are so you can quickly shut off the water if needed
- Remove and drain all garden hoses
- If your exterior faucets have cut-off valves, shut off water to them and drain the faucets, otherwise use foam faucet covers to insulate them
- Cover or close any vents in your foundation
- Keep the interior above 55° F
Weatherproof Your Interior
Keeping the cold out and the heat in will save you lots of money on utilities and will reduce the wear on your HVAC system. Heat escapes in a number of common places including windows, doors and attics. Weather stripping, storm doors and windows, and door sweeps are effective ways to keep the heat in. Make sure that your windows are completely sealed with caulk and for added insulation use foam outlet protectors. Attics are often where homes lose most of their heat, if needed, add more insulation to your attic. Another thing to consider is making sure that your furnace is running efficiently by cleaning or replacing the filter.
Maintain Outdoor Equipment and Landscaping
The heavy rain, snow and cold temperatures can really wear out your outdoor equipment and landscape. If you’re able, store outdoor furniture and grills inside a garage or shed, otherwise buy covers if this isn’t an option. Make sure you clean and make any repairs needed on your power equipment, like mowers, prior to storing. Leaving them dirty will cause them to wear out more quickly. Inspect any winter equipment, like snow blowers, prior to the first snow. Add mulch to your garden or landscaped areas to protect plants from the cold and wrap vulnerable tree trunks in paper tree wrap to prevent cracking.
Clean and Prepare Your Roof
The roof over our head is the unsung hero of our homes. Maintaining a healthy roof is essential to good home maintenance, especially going into winter. Collected debris and moss can damage shingles, leaving our homes vulnerable to the elements, and can cause clogged gutters and landscape damage. Ideally, our roof and gutters should be working together to guide water safely away to designated areas in order to keep our property free of water damage and this starts with a clean roof.
Preparing for the changing seasons can be overwhelming for a lot of property and homeowners. If you need help with keeping up with your property maintenance, SNUGS has you covered year round.
Snugs Pro Wash, Inc, dba SNUGS Services, has been providing high quality Pressure Washing Services in Portland, OR since 1995. Started as a residential pressure washing and roof cleaning service, SNUGS is now one of the leading exterior cleaning companies in the Northwest. From our humble beginnings as a man with a truck and a trailer we have grown to become a multi-million dollar company serving corporate customers, name brands, and mom and pop companies alike.