Autumn Checklist for Winterizing Your Home
Unfortunately, altogether too many people think that winterizing a home is a task reserved for snowbirds making their way south to weather out the cold months ahead. While this is something which they should always do, especially if they intend to be gone for long periods of time, winterizing your home should be a top priority every autumn. Start with a checklist of important ways to protect your home against the cold arctic elements which are surely heading your way. Here are some of the most important elements to include.
Garden Hoses and Spigots
One of the things you should do to protect outside spigots is to remove all garden hoses. Although you may feel it is safe to keep your garden hoses wrapped neatly and securely outside, if possible, bring them into a garage or storage shed to prevent damage to the hose which could burst when water trapped inside can freeze and expand just enough to cause a split. Also, some people insulate the pipe coming up out of the ground if possible while others build a small wooden box which is insulated to cover the spigot coming out of the wall. Frozen pipes are a huge concern in winter months, so take this precaution to avoid a costly repair in the spring.
Gutters and Downspouts
Autumn is referred to as fall for a logical reason! All those leaves fall from the trees and a good percentage of them get trapped in your gutter system around your roof. Fall is the time of year to clean those gutters and it is suggested that you clean the gutters once in mid-autumn and again after all the leaves have fallen. Although it may not seem like a great deal of weight, when snow from the roof melts during the day and freezes at night, those gutters can quickly become dislodged and broken. As a word of caution here, always wear adequate fall protection if you will be walking along the roof’s edge or climbing a ladder to reach those gutters. Winterizing your home is important, but your safety is even more so!
Fireplaces, Wood Stoves and Chimneys
While some people have their fireplaces, wood stoves and chimneys cleaned in the spring and summer months, autumn is a time in which you must have them cleaned to prevent fires if you haven’t done so already. Remember that creosote can build up in chimneys and the slightest spark from a rising ember can quickly begin burning that caked on fuel (creosote) which has been the cause of many a catastrophic house fire.
Doors and Windows
Unfortunately, this is one area many homeowners fail to check when winterizing their homes. Cracks around windows and doors are the leading way in which heat escapes and cold air enters, so make sure to use the proper weatherproofing strips along any areas that don’t fit snugly. Not only will you be colder than comfortable, but your heating bills will be astronomical! Weatherproofing strips are inexpensive and can be installed easily with just a few tools you have lying around, so don’t neglect this task.
These are just the bare minimum items to place on your winterizing checklist, but a good place to start. Not only do you want to ensure that everyone within your home is warm, comfy and safe but you also want to protect what is probably the largest investment you’ll ever make.