Winterizing Your Home!

(Writer’s note:  If you happen to live in the South and seldom have to worry about Winter cold like the rest of us, you can skip this month’s Blog – maybe thumb though your Instagram feed for the 8th time today or take a nap or something.)

Well, the Christmas Season sure snuck up on us didn’t it?  With the later than usual Thanksgiving Holiday along with a warmer November, this recent cold air has offered a sharp reminder that Ol’ Man Winter will soon be tap, tap, tapping on the window panes.  Hopefully you got your Christmas lights up by now.  Here in the Miami Valley, we get the joy of experiencing all four seasons!   I’ve always tried to use the start of each season as a good excuse to change my furnace filter.  Most of us homeowners know the value of getting your furnace serviced at the start of Winter as well.  Don’t want that surprise when the thermometer dips below 10 degrees.  

So in case you haven’t yet got your home ready for Winter, I thought I’d pass along some tips to winterize your home.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure you house’s gutters are clean.  Unless you get those pesky leaves cleaned out, there’s a good chance water that warms and freezes can build up in the gutters, causing a dam in certain areas that can lead to damage around your soffits. 
  • Turn off the water source to your outside spigots if possible and make sure to disconnect any hoses.  Freezing water inside your hose is a sure fire way to cause the faucet in the wall area to crack and leak when you go to turn it on in the spring.  Never a fun surprise!
  • For those of you with a fireplace and enjoy using it throughout the colder months, be sure to have it well cleaned by removing any leftover ashes, inspecting the flue damper, insuring it opens and closes properly and check to be sure the chimney cap outside hasn’t been lost or dislodged over Summer and Fall.  Nature’s furry little friends will have no problem coming down the “chimney with care” once the temps drop.  (Remind me to tell you the story about the bird that came down our chimney once – not for the squeamish.)
  • Along this same line, be sure to screen all openings that might have formed around the exterior of the house as critters will find them fast. 
  • Check for seal cracks in ducts, windows and doors.  Drafts are much more noticeable in the winter. Whether it’s installing thin plastic insulation material around older and less insulated windows, adding weatherstripping around your exterior doors or caulking gaps that annually show themselves again because of the cold air, paying attention to these small things can make a big impact on your heating costs.
  • Be sure to put away your favorite outdoor cushions and furniture; brush and clean them off before storing them for the winter.  They’ll look better come Spring and last longer.  It’s also a good excuse to fire up that grill another time to burn off any residue from your amazing summer cookouts and scrape and clean the rack and burners one last time.  You’ll be glad you did that first time you fire it up come Spring.  One of the best investments you can make to extend the life of your grill is a cover and don’t forget to disconnect the propane tank and store it away.
  • An air conditioning condensing unit cover is also a good idea to keep the excess snow and moisture from shortening its life as well.
  • And last but not least (this one’s a little personal),  if you have a snowblower, don’t forget to make sure your can get it started.  I’d say 50% of homeowners forget to empty out their gas from the last winter and bad gasoline clogs the engine – and you’re stuck shoveling your driveway at 6:00am the old fashioned way – with a shovel. I know this from personal experience:)

Ah, the joy of home ownership!  Now your’e ready for Winter and ready for Christmas.  And back to the chimney cleaning idea – Santa will thank you and maybe even include an extra gift or two.  

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