With the colder weather approaching, thoughts of winterizing your home may be making their way to the forefront of your mind. House winterization doesn’t have to be a burdensome task, if done in stages and ahead of the weather. There are several elements to preparing your home and property for the winter weather, including your home’s plumbing system, heating system, cooling system, chimneys and fireplaces, roof, windows and doors, and landscape. It is not necessary to attempt to tackle all these areas at once, but it is a good idea to start in late summer or early fall if possible, to spread out the cost, time required to perform all that is necessary, and ensure everything is complete before the first snow flies.
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, winterization should include the following:
- All exposed water pipes in cold areas, such as attics, garages, and crawlspaces, should be insulated. Insulation should cover the entirety of a pipe. Plastic is more tolerant of cold expansion than copper or steel. Houses in colder climates might benefit from the exclusive use of approved plastic plumbing.
- Water supply for exterior pipes should be shut off from inside the house and then drained. Sprinkler systems are particularly vulnerable to cracking due to cold-weather expansion. In addition to turning them, it helps to purge the system of any remaining water with compressed air. 3. Because it is impossible to monitor the temperature of every portion of the plumbing system, indoor air temperature should be kept high enough throughout the winter to keep pipes in any unheated places from freezing.
- Test the furnace by raising the temperature on the thermostat. If it does not respond to the adjustment quickly, it might be broken.
- Replace the air filter if it’s dirty.
- If the furnace is equipped with an oil or propane tank, the tank should be full.
- Use a hose to remove leaves and other debris from the outdoor condensing unit, if your home is equipped with one. Protect the unit with a breathable waterproof cover to prevent rusting and freezing of its components.
- Remove and store window air conditioners once they are no longer needed. Cold air can damage components and enter the house through openings between the air conditioner and the windowpane.
- Ceiling fans can be reversed to recirculate warm air trapped beneath the ceiling by spinning clockwise.
Chimneys and Fireplaces
- Chimneys should be inspected for nesting animals such as birds, squirrels, and raccoons.
- Dampers should open and close with ease, and smoke should rise up the chimney when the damper is open. If it doesn't, this means that there is an obstruction in the chimney that must be cleared before the fireplace can be used safely.
- A chimney cleaning professional should clean the chimney, especially if it has not been cleaned for several years.
- The damper should be closed when the fireplace is not in use. An open damper might not be as obvious to the homeowner as an open window, but it can allow a significant amount of warm air to escape.
- Glass doors can be installed in fireplaces and wood stoves to provide an extra layer of insulation.
- Remove any debris in gutters, as it can freeze when wet and allow the formation of ice dams that prevent water from draining. This added weight has the potential to cause damage to gutters and any water trapped in the gutters can enter the house and lead to the growth of mold.
- Missing shingles should be replaced, and flashing around chimney should be inspected for any damage or tears.
Windows and Doors
- Feel for drafts with your hand or watch for horizontal smoke from an incense stick or match held near windows to inspect for leaks.
- On a breezy day, a homeowner can walk through the house and find far more leaks than they knew existed. Leaks are most likely in areas where a seam exists between two or more building materials.
- Cover or store any outdoor furniture, including grills.
- Check sealant on any existing deck to determine if a fresh coat of sealant is required.
Call us today at (720) 839-4015 to schedule an appointment for service or repair, or to have us evaluate your current heating and HVAC system.