The recent rain/snow storm took a few of us by surprise, breaking the record for the wettest October in memory. While the moisture is sorely needed, this early season storm is an excellent reminder to prepare your home for the coming winter. Below is a checklist to properly ‘winterize’ your home, inside and out.
- Winterize your outdoor faucets. Remove all hoses or devices attached to outdoor spigots. Be sure to drain any water left behind in the pipes. Have in-ground sprinkler systems blown out and turn off water to the outdoor spigots.
- Outdoor furniture. Wash upholstery and frames. In northern climates, store both furniture and cushions in a covered spot free from moisture.
- Clear any landscape debris and waste. Remove any debris or branches from around the HVAC unit, gas meters, away from basement windows and your dryer exhaust vent. Cut back dead or dying limbs and any branches that can touch the roof or siding. When it’s windy, branches can rub or scratch the surfaces of your home and cause damage. They also could fall during a storm or break under heavy snow and ice.
- Store your firewood in a dry place at least 30 feet from your home to avoid a fire hazard.
- Visually inspect your roof. Look for any missing or damaged shingles (consult a roof professional if needed). Ensure that all gutters are clean and securely attached to help prevent ice dams.
- Swimming pools and hot tubs. In northern climates, close up and secure both swimming pool and hot tub. Ensure that lights at doors (front, back and garage) are functioning. Replace any burned-out bulbs with more efficient LED options.
- Prevent pest infestations. Walk around your house to check the foundation for small cracks or openings where mice or other pests can tunnel in. Winter is when they seek the warmth of your house, so seal up any possible entrances.
- Sidewalk and driveway. Shovel the snow from the sidewalk and driveway and then follow-up with a de-icing product to prevent slips and falls.
- Have your furnace inspected. Since your heating system will probably be running constantly throughout the winter, you should have it inspected annually to help it run efficiently and prevent CO from entering your home. Also remember to change out your HVAC filters every month.
- Inspect the insulation in your attic and crawl spaces. Warm air rises and leaves the house through the roof, so you should focus on insulation in your ceilings. Insulating the crawl spaces will help keep your floors warm.
- Seal potential leaks. Before cold weather comes, take time to insulate your home or apartment to keep the winter chill outside. Seal areas around recessed lights, the attic hatch and plumbing vents that may be allowing warm air from the living space below to enter the attic.
- If you don’t have double-paned or storm windows, pick up a plastic-film sheet kit from your local hardware store. These will only last one season, but they help with energy efficiency and are able to stop some cold winter drafts especially in older homes.
- Add weather stripping to doors and caulk window gaps.
- Insulate pipes. Pipes located in attics, crawl spaces, basements and near outer walls can be susceptible to freezing in extreme temperatures. Insulate to help prevent your pipes from freezing. When the forecast calls for unusually cold temperatures:
- Consult your local utility company about an energy assessment to determine where your home is losing energy and what energy-smart investments would make sense for your home.
- Check your snow shovel for cracks.
- Schedule snow blower (if you have one) annual tune up.
- Battery-powered flashlights or lanterns and extra batteries.
Plumbing & Heating
Tahoe City Plumbing & Heating
Woodstove Compliance Inspector