Checklist for Winterizing Your Home
Have you been thinking about everything you need to do in order to winterize your home? If so, it’s likely that you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to start. Don’t worry, however. If you simply follow the steps outlined below, then you’ll soon have the job done and you’ll know everything is safe for the coming cold weather.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the best time to prepare is during the last few days of fall. It’s always best to start before the weather becomes colder. That’s the best time to take a good look at furnace maintenance, heating systems and other important areas around the home.
Winterize Your Heating System
The most important part of your home during the winter is arguably the heating system. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to go down the following heating system checklist and then running into problems in the dead of winter. Here are the items to check:
The first thing to do is a full system check. Turn the thermostat all the way up to 80 degrees. You’ll hear the furnace start and you want to check whether warm air begins flowing. Bring the thermostat back down to normal if everything is working well.
You might need to call in a furnace maintenance expert if you find any problems. We have qualified furnace maintenance technicians available and will happily help you diagnose the problem for you.
By the way, this is a good time to consider installing a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat will save you money long-term because it makes sure that your home’s temperature is not affected by the whims of family members.
Here are other important heating system checks to make:
- Replace your air filter: This is a simple process and ensures quality air and the free flow of air.
- Inspect heating vents: Clear out any obstacles. Bring in a service technician every year or so to clean your vents.
- Check the fuel supply: Top off the fuel storage tank if you use an oil or propane furnace.
- Inspect exhaust vents: Keep all vents free from obstructions. Watch out for animals that may have made a home here during the summer months.
- Check for carbon monoxide: You can use a battery-operated alarm or test badge. Call in a qualified technician immediately if you detect a problem in this area.
Check Your Air Conditioning System
It’s vital that you conduct the following checks on the condensing unit outside:
- Clear out debris: Clean out dirt and debris from the fan blades using a high-pressure hose.
- Cover the unit: A waterproof and breathable cover helps extend the unit’s lifespan.
- Winterize any window AC units: Take them out and store them safely. You don’t want them left in all winter because they usually aren’t sealed well.
Winterize Your Water Pipes
It’s important that you take precautions against freezing pipes. A pipe that bursts due to freezing is one of the most expensive repair jobs you’ll ever encounter. Both drain pipes and water supply pipes need to be checked during this process.
- Insulate your pipes: Any exposed water pipes need to get insulated. Do this especially in areas such as a crawlspace, an exterior wall or an attic.
- Inspect exterior faucets: Exterior faucets are typically called sill-cocks or hose bibbs. Turn off their water supply from inside your home. Drain water from exterior faucets, as well. You might also want to use an insulated cover on a sill-cock.
Are you leaving a property for the winter? If so, make sure you should shut off the water supply so you avoid any damage from leaks.
Seal Your Windows & Doors
Sealing any air leaks around windows and doors helps to reduce your heating bills. Here is what to do with your doors:
- Check for any air leaks around them. Seal gaps with caulking.
- Replace worn out weatherstripping around doors.
- Re-caulk any outside molding areas that need it.
Do the following work around your windows:
- Clean debris from window tracks. This will affect the seal.
- Check for air leaks. You can use a candle or incense stick on a windy day to do this.
- Inspect outside moldings and re-caulk any areas needing it.
- Inspect window locks. Make sure they work correctly and are all locked up for winter.
Check Your Roof
Take all safety precautions if you decide to climb up onto your roof. Hire someone to do this work for you if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself.
- Check all chimney flashing and flashing around other roof projections. Make the necessary repairs here to avoid leaks.
- Inspect the roof for damaged or missing shingles and get them replaced.
- Clear downspouts and gutters of dirt and debris. You don’t want wet leaves in your gutters freezing during the winter because the extra weight causes damage.
Inspect Your Fireplace, Chimney & Flue
- Check the damper. You want it opening and closing properly.
- Clear any chimney obstructions. Make sure it’s capped so squirrels, birds or bats can’t get into it.
- Light several rolled newspapers in the fireplace and check that the smoke rises up out of the chimney. If not, call in a professional to come clear out any possible debris.
- Call a chimney sweep to clean out the chimney.
Perform Insulation Work
Don’t rush through any needed insulation work. That isn’t a job to do quickly right before the onset of winter. It needs to be done during the summer months and done correctly and carefully. Here are some simple insulation issues you can do as you winterize your home:
- Use foam sealant to insulate your exterior switch plates and outlets.
- Seal off any unused fireplaces. You don’t want any unwanted air leaks from an unused fireplace.
- Use an insulating blanket to provide insulation for the hot water heater.
Winterize Your Sprinkler System
Don’t wait any longer than October to get this type of work done. If possible, have your lawn service professionals come by to drain out your irrigation system. You can easily do it yourself if you don’t use a lawn service. Here’s what you do:
- Shut off the water.
- Drain the pipes and get all the water blown out.
- Open up the test cocks and get some air into the system. This prevents water from freezing and breaking your plastic lines.
Get Your Yard & Landscaping Winterized
- Fertilize your grass so the roots are nourished during winter.
- Patch up any damage to concrete walkways or steps.
- Drain all the gas out of your lawn mower. You can also let the mower run until the gas runs out. Keep your mower somewhere safe and warm during the winter.
- Bring in patio furniture and cover it.
- Stain or seal any wooden decks or fences to provide better protection throughout the winter season.
- Put away all garden tools, pruners and shovels.
- Unhook all hoses and store them safely.
Follow the tips above step-by-step and you’ll soon feel ready for winter.
Call Air Services Unlimited today to find out how we can help you with your heating system maintenance. Contact us now.