10 Must-Do Tasks To Prep Your Home for Winter
by Hoffman Weber Construction, on October 23, 2014
Although winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21, don’t put off preparing your home for the cold season. Here’s how Hoffman Weber Construction suggests you keep your family safe and comfortable, prevent costly property damage and conserve energy.
- Identify and correct roof problems before snow and ice arrive, especially if you plan to put the property on the market before next summer. Roof work is best completed before freezing temperatures are here to stay. Some insurance companies will not write policies on structures with faulty roofs that cannot be repaired during winter. Pay special attention to valleys and eaves where snow and ice accumulate.
- Increase attic insulation, ventilation and wind blocking and seal gaps around cables, ducts and ceiling fixtures to prevent ice dams. If that’s not possible, consider installing heat cables on problem eaves, valleys and gutters. A contractor equipped with a thermography gun can easily identify gaps in insulation and sealing.
- Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure they are secure and can support the weight of ice if they do fill and freeze. Old-style spike and ferrule mounting systems are especially susceptible to loosening.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, get the chimney inspected and cleaned to prevent a fire from a cracked liner, accumulated creosote or nest. Then install a chimney cap to keep critters out.
- Have your furnace professionally tuned and replace the furnace filter for safety, energy efficiency and peace of mind.
- Seal foundation cracks and openings around mechanicals where mice can get in. Pay special attention to gaps in weatherstripping and door sweeps and any voids under the bottom course of siding. Mice and their waste can carry disease, fleas and ticks.
- If you have freeze-proof outdoor faucets with long valve stems, remove garden hoses so the fixtures drain. For regular sillcocks, drain the line by closing the nearest indoor shutoff valve, opening the outside faucet, opening the small drain valve at the indoor shutoff. Then close the drain valve and the faucet.
- Remove interior screens from crank-out windows. They block light and restrict airflow, which can increase condensation.
- Test your sump pump. Then remove the above ground discharge hose if you have one so it doesn’t freeze.
- Reverse the outdoor buss to the off position or turn off the indoor circuit breaker to your central air conditioner so it can’t be turned on accidentally in the winter when the outdoor fan may be blocked by ice or snow.