As we head into the winter and the weather begins to change, it’s important to make sure your home is prepared for the conditions that lie ahead. A Home Maintenance Inspection is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for winter. A Home Maintenance Inspection will examine over 300 components of your home and assess their condition before providing you with recommended preventative maintenance or repairs. It’s important to act on these recommendations to ensure your home is safe, sound and prepared for winter. In addition to a Home Maintenance Inspection, there are several other steps you can take to make sure your home is ready for the winter. We have compiled a list of measures you can take to winterize your home; we hope you find them useful!
Winter Home Preparation Checklist
Follow these insightful tips to ensure your home is safe and ready to handle whatever conditions this winter has in store.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Test your heating system and make sure it is in the proper working order, so you don’t find out the hard way. Additionally, check and change any dirty air filters. Dirty air filters can have several unwanted consequences including an increased heating bill, poor air quality and fire hazards.
It’s very common for people to have trouble with their heating systems in the winter and you don’t want to be the last person in line to have your system repaired during the middle of February. Scheduling a Home Maintenance Inspection early can help ensure that your HVAC system is working properly and provides you enough time to get your HVAC system repaired if issues are detected.
Inspecting your roof is a crucial component to making sure your home is prepared for the winter. If you feel comfortable enough, get up on a ladder, or alternatively use a pair of binoculars from the ground to visually inspect your roof for missing, damaged or cracked shingles. If left unattended, a damaged roof can be a major ice dam hazard which can cause further damage to the roof and even create water and mold issues inside the home.
Windows and Door Frames
Carefully inspect all windows and door frames to ensure they are sealing properly. Add weatherstripping to all exterior doors and use silicone caulk to seal any gaps in your window frames. Even a minor gap can cause warm air to escape, letting cold air in driving up your heating bill while increasing the workload put on your HVAC system.
To further ensure your home is properly sealed and insulated, we recommend scheduling an Infrared (IR) Scan with WIN. During an IR scan, a certified and trained WIN Home Inspector will use infrared thermography to scan for variance in temperature. A variance in temperature is a tell-tale sign that there is an insulation issue that needs to be addressed.
Clean the Gutters
The fall and winter are the hardest months of the year for your gutters and downspouts. Make sure you clean your gutters and downspouts of any debris to ensure that they can operate unencumbered this winter. Make sure everything is properly fitted to the house, free of debris, and is in good condition, looking for any signs of wood rot on the soffit and fascia boards. Finally, make sure the downspouts are angled away from your home to prevent pooling.
When it comes to winter prep, your garden probably isn’t one of the things you think of. However, properly winterizing your garden is a key step to ensuring it will be functional and ready to thrive come spring. Clean up any diseased plants and remove any invasive weeds that may have started to grow. You also should replenish your mulch and make sure your soil is amended for spring. Finally, make sure you turn off the valves to all outdoor faucets or spigots. Water that gets trapped in the pipes can freeze causing the pipes to burst, leaving you with an expensive mess on your hands.
Fireplace and Chimney
We all love a warm fire in the winter, but a poorly maintained fireplace or chimney can be a major fire hazard. Schedule a Fireplace and Chimney Inspection to ensure that your fireplace is free of soot, creosote buildup, damage and even little nesting critters.
The freezing temperatures that come with winter can cause a lot of stress on your pipes. When temperatures get too cold, the water in your pipes can freeze leading to a burst pipe. To avoid that situation, make sure you properly insulate any exposed pipes and make sure your water heater is working properly. Additionally, check for any leaks or cracks in your pipes as those can lead to pipes bursting too. To further ensure the health and safety of your pipes this winter, keep the temperature in your home above 65 degrees.
Winterize the Pool and Spa
Winterizing your pool and spa is an important step in maintaining the health of your pool and preventing issues from arising in the future. The first step to preparing your pool or spa for winter is to clean them. Grab a brush and scrub everything to make sure the surface is free of scum. Use a test kit and make sure the mineral levels are balanced. If balanced, you can now add your winter chemicals. After that, you are going to want to shock the pool with chlorine one last time before lowering the water level. This will help ensure your pool is ready for use when it comes time to open. Finally, you can clear out your filter, blow the lines and apply the cover. You’ll see your pool in the springtime.
Change Batteries and Test Smoke Detectors
Winter is a popular time for cooking, celebrating and decorating, all of which can be potential fire hazards. To ensure your safety this holiday and winter season, make sure you check that all your smoke detectors are working properly. Additionally, follow manufacturer guidelines to keep up with battery replacements.
We hope you found these tips useful and put them into action so you can remain warm and cozy all winter long. As a further measure of security, a Home Maintenance Inspection will carefully inspect all these items, giving you peace of mind knowing your home is well prepared for winter. If you have any questions or would like to schedule inspection services for your home, please contact your local WIN Home Inspector and they will be glad to help!