As temperatures drop and you are hunkering down for a cold winter (unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere where temperatures are always above freezing), here are a few steps we recommend you take to prepare your home.
1. Cover faucets and remove hoses
In order to insure your hoses will be usable come spring time, store them somewhere that they will be protected from freezing temps as they can expand and crack in cold weather. It is also important to insulate your faucets. Like hoses, when it freezes they can expand and crack, potentially resulting in a ruptured spigot and this can even happen even to frost free spigots in cold weather. Styrofoam caps are one of the best options as they are easy to install yourself and will last a long time if stored well.
2. Check your gutters
Even if you cleaned out your gutters after raking up all the leaves off your lawn, it is important to check them again before freezing weather hits. If water is trapped in your gutters and it freezes, it can cause ice dams which may result in water damage to your home.
3. Ready landscaping
To prevent damage to your home during storms, trim any overhanging branches. It is also a good idea to put down a thick layer of mulch around your plants to protect them from harsh weather. Any plants that die out and come back in spring should be completely covered with mulch to prevent them from freezing. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure it is emptied of water and stored inside to prevent damage.
4. Insulating doors and windows
To prevent drafts, check around your windows and doors for any old caulk and remove it with a caulk knife. Using a caulk gun, push it into the cracks and try to dispense it in one uninterrupted bead. The gaps around doors and windows are another major area of heat loss. Double check that there is weatherstripping in these areas and that it is in good condition.
5. Get your chimney checked out
If you have a wood stove that you are going to be using, it is important that your chimney is all cleaned out to prevent fires. It is best to have a chimney sweep done by a professional as they will know the best way to clean it out and avoid a chimney fire from occurring. Often times people don’t even know when a chimney fire is happening until it gets through the chimney to the frame of the house. As such, it is important to be proactive about maintaining your chimney.
6. Wrap water pipes
Any pipes on an outer wall in crawl spaces should be wrapped with insulation to prevent them from freezing. While a frozen pipe is certainly inconvenient, it can also lead to them bursting and extensive water damage. A common, affordable type of insulation are foam pipe sleeves. Heat tape is great option for pipes that are exposed and need additional insulation. Also, close the foundation vents in your crawl space to keep cold air out.
Since winterizing can be a big chore, if you want some help from the professionals give us a call for some recommendations!