Preparing Your Home for Winter

October 13, 2020

With the pending cold weather and winter harshness upon us, now is the time to make sure your home is ready for what sometimes can be a difficult season. Below are key areas to review around your house to lessen the chance of damage or costly repairs, reduce heat loss, and improve energy savings.

Windows, Doors and Wall Penetrations:

  • Seal up and caulk around windows and doors to seal air leaks
  • Replace broken glass in windows
  • Confirm all operable windows are sealed tight and locked
  • Confirm all storm windows where applicable are closed and functioning appropriately
  • Replace weather stripping on doors as needed
  • Check that all penetrations leading in and out of the house walls are sealed

Roof and Roof Penetrations:

  • Check over entire roof for exposed nails and loose shingles
  • Check all roof flashing, chimney flashing, roof penetrations and caulk and seal as necessary
  • If applicable check that your heat tape/ice melt cables are connected and working properly
  • Clear and sweep leaves and debris off of roof and deck areas

Gutters/Downspouts and Drainage:

  • Clean debris from gutter systems and downspouts after the leaves have fallen
  • Check that downspouts and tail extensions are forcing water away from the foundation of the home

It’s important to divert water away from the foundation of your home to protect your basement and the homes foundation

Sump Pump:

  • Open the sump pump pit and pour water in if it is dry until the pump turns on – this tests that it is properly pumping the water to the exterior of the home
  • Check the drain line on the sump pump at the exterior and confirm that the drain line is forcing water away from the home’s foundation

Chimneys, Wood Burning Fireplaces and Gas Fireplaces:

  • Prior to heating season, it is a good idea to have your gas fireplace serviced
  • If you have a wood burning chimney that is in use, have it inspected and cleaned as necessary

Heating/ Ventilation System:

  • Prior to heating season, it is a good idea to do a test run of your heating system to make sure everything is working and functioning properly – i.e. Thermostat is working appropriate, furnace/boiler ignites and provides heat
  • Check/change out the thermostat batteries if it is a digital thermostat
  • Forced air furnaces and air exchangers should have their filters changed/cleaned out at least yearly and be serviced to help the function of the furnace and the air quality in the home
  • Check to ensure that nothing is blocking the intake and exhaust vents on heating and ventilation systems

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

  • Check the batteries and change out yearly
  • Ensure that each level of the home has a Carbon Monoxide Detector especially near gas appliances
  • Ensure that the units are less than 10 years old and replace if greater than 10 years old
  • Test all individual detectors to ensure they are all working

Hoses and Hose Bibs:

  • Disconnect all hoses where they are connected at the house
  • If the fixture is not a ‘frost-free/frostless’ type faucet, it is a good idea to have the water leading to that fixture turned off and the fixture opened so that it does not freeze