Ah yes, for some, Winter is the best time of year (cold and snow lovers).
For homeowners, you’ve got your Spring Cleaning checklist, then you’ve got your Winterizing checklist.
Or, maybe not, since you’re here reading this right now. Let’s give you a basic rundown on how to winterize a basic residential family home. If afterwards you would like to learn more, or to chat with a professional at no cost (no sales involved), we can give you all the information you need directly. Simply give us a call.
For homeowners in a position to handle their own outdoor winterizing needs, everything starts here – your gutters, performing a thorough exterior inspection, and doing little things like prepping the yard.
Cleaning & Preparing Your Gutters
If you don’t have high-quality gutter guards (even then, they should be checked each year), getting out there and cleaning them after Autumn leaves have fallen is a necessity. Don’t have a ladder? Worried you can’t get the job done on your own? Then get some professionals to come on out and help.
- Unchecked gutters will slowly degrade your roofing system, leading to eventual leaks. If left untreated long enough, the backed up water will start leaking right into your home!
- Long-dead and decaying organic matter leads to unwanted critters of various kinds and mold, both of which will wreak havoc.
Have Your Roofing System Inspected
First and foremost, if you suspect that your roofing system is compromised don’t just charge into the Winter season assuming,
- “It’ll be alright, I’ll have someone look at it in the Spring.”
Mother Nature has a way of often making us look like fools for our assumptions, right?
What might have been a relatively easy fix with some roofing maintenance, could quickly become a nightmare during an unexpectedly rough winter season.
If at all possible, have your local roofing company who you trust send a professional out. They can thoroughly inspect the roof inside and out for any signs of potential danger as the temperatures drop in Dec-Feb.
Inspect Your Siding for Signs of Weakness
With siding it’s far easier to simply walk around your home and take a good, honest, solid look at your siding system. Get a good grasp on both the overall condition and any weak spots to bring to your local siding company’s attention before temperatures start getting close to freezing.
- Look for obvious signs of wear & tear – cracks, gaps, discolored areas, etc.
- Inspect the caulking around windows, doors, vents, and trimming to see what the condition is. Take note of areas that need old or damaged caulking replaced because it’s either completely gone or showing clear symptoms of aging/weathering like splitting, cracking, flaking, and so forth.
- Only you can decide if you should have your local siding company send a professional out to inspect it and make repairs.
Inspect & Address Your Weatherstripping – Caulking
Let’s assume you have weatherstripping. Here in Northern California, many homeowners use it as part of controlling their in-home air quality as well, not just to keep the cold out. Winters aren’t as bad here as in other parts of the country.
- You’re looking for any obvious or not-so obvious gaps that are allowing air in.
- Look for loose or old worn out taping or self-stick stripping.
- Same goes for caulking – find where it’s losing integrity. Typically you want to keep the caulking on piping and plumbing, with weatherstirpping on windows/doors.
The number one thing to ask yourself when it comes to these kinds of winterizing solutions is,
- “Are they correctly placed?
With weatherstripping especially, it needs to be designed for the specific window or door context. You want it to work in the wintertime of course, but not damaging your windowsill, carpeting, framing or flooring in the process.
Pre-Winter Plumbing Issues – Prevent Frozen Pipes!
As you know if you’ve ever frozen a plastic bottle full of water, it’s a substance that expands when it freezes. The last thing you want is for your pipes to expand, blow something important or even burst at the seams! Worse yet, is often the initially frozen areas then create a blockage which causes everything else in the pipe to freeze and expand and the nightmare ensues.
- If possible, have your local plumber come on out and take a look. Inspections are often either going to be really inexpensive (when compared with the issue above) or free.
- They will locate problem areas, seal cracks, apply new caulking or weatherstripping, install or update pipe insulation, or sillock, etc. if it’s not something you want to handle.
- Do you know where the main water cut-off valve is for your system? Locate it. If there’s no emergency release, consider having one installed.
- Don’t forget to disconnect your outdoor hoses and put them away and flush your water heater. Over time all manner of particles and residue collects at the bottom.
Winterizing Your Outdoor AC Unit
Just because you’re not going to be needing cool air for months, doesn’t mean the outdoor AC unit should be forgotten about.
- The #1 step you can do is have professionals conduct regular AC Repair & Maintenance before small signs or symptoms of problems because big deals.
- Look for anything that might entice animals to try and make your AC unit their winter sanctuary.
- If you are going to cover the unit with some kind of tarp or fabric, be sure that it’s sealed. Again, you do not want animals taking up residence in what to them will look like a nice, safe, and covered place.
Get Your Furnace Checked – Tuned Up
With Service Champions, you get the whole nine yards and then some. We’re not just going to come out and charge you a fee to change those dirty filters. Instead, we have a professional 21-Operation Furnace Tune Up that we specially train our technicians in until they can recite it in their sleep.
We won’t list them all here, but needless to say it’s your best option in terms of winterizing your furnace.
This is why our customers don’t experience much problem during the tough seasons. When they do, they know they can call us and get back up and running fast!
From here, well, there’s a ton of little life-hack-style things you can do around the home to winterize it. The goal of our article today was to just give you some big basics to get your list started. Again, if you need more information or help with winterizing your Northern California home, don’t hesitate to contact the Service Champions!