In Part One of this series, we made sure your furnace is in tip-top shape and the heat in your home is being distributed in the most efficient way possible. In this part, we’ll put the rest of your house in order for winter.
Your home’s exterior
Take a leisurely walk around the house. Here are some things to look for:
- Look for debris lying against the foundation or any place where the slope of the ground has shifted toward your house.
- Check the foundation for gaps or cracks anywhere a pipe passes through the wall.
- Double-check that faucets and hoses are shut off. Use the interior shutoff if necessary. Store all hoses. Drain water from any permanently installed air conditioning units. Drain your lawn irrigation system if you haven’t already.
- Clear window wells of any debris. Replace any missing covers. If snow gets into your window wells during the winter, water is almost sure to leak into your basement.
- Check your roof for loose shingles, flashing or areas where multiple shingles have lost their surface material.
- Do your gutters need cleaning? Are all downspouts properly attached and aligned?
- Check that all exterior lights are working and are properly oriented. When ice and snow are on the ground, proper illumination is extremely important.
- Check decks and patios for general damage, cracking, etc. Important because water entering the materials and freezing can cause a great deal of damage and increase the cost of repairs.
- Look at your trees with an eye to what may happen during winter storms. Will any branches be likely to interfere with power lines or damage your house? Resist the temptation to trim other branches back, however. The best time to do this is in the late winter when the tree is dormant.
While you’re outside, take a few steps to make your winter work easier:
- Check to see you have plenty of salt for your walks.
- Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of your garage or another easily accessible point. Check to see the snow blower will start.
- Check your ice chopper for sharpness.
Doors and windows
If you have weather stripping, check it for damage and make sure it’s still firmly in place. If you don’t, now’s a good time to install it. Whichever you’re doing, look for wood rot, damage, cracked window caulking and be alert for drafts. Don’t forget to install storm windows, including on the windows in your screen doors.
Inside the house
Most of the vulnerabilities are on the outside, but there’s opportunity here to save energy dollars and increase safety.
- Fire safety—Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure you have the right number in the right places. Check your fire extinguishers and replace them if they’re more than 10 years old.
- Drafts—Check for drafts as you go. Check outlets and switch plates on exterior walls and if you feel a draft install outlet gaskets, which are available at your local hardware store.
- If your pipes are insulated, check for gaps and tape them; if they aren’t, install it. Keeping the water in them at the correct temperature will save energy.
- Make sure your attic is well-insulated. Heat moving from the interior of your house to the roof causes the freeze-melt-freeze cycle, which produces ice dams and insidious water damage.
Lastly, check your home emergency kit. Make sure you have extra blankets, a first aid kit, candles or lanterns, flashlights, non-perishable food, water and any other supplies you need to make it if you’re left without power. Don’t forget to stock food for your pets as well. For full information on home disaster preparation, download our free planning guide here.
Now you can sit down, relax and know you’re ready for whatever winter can throw at you.
LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066.