The days are getting shorter and that distinct chill of winter is already in the air. As the temperatures drop, it's time for homeowners to start preparing for another cold, rainy, and snowy Oregon season. Winterizing your home is an important step in any annual maintenance regime, but it also helps to ensure that you will be prepared to deal with cold temperatures and inclement weather conditions.
Winter conditions can easily be the cause of damage to a home's plumbing system, roof, gutter system, and more. Leaving a home unprepared for these conditions can also result in uncomfortable, unpleasant living conditions for those who call the house home. But what do homeowners need to consider when preparing for the wintery season ahead?
The furnace, wood stove, and chimney
An important place to start is taking a close look at your home's heating system. A properly working furnace, heat pump, or wood stove will make a world of difference when combating freezing temperatures. Remember to check furnace filters and consider replacing them once a month, or as needed. It is also important to make sure the area around your home's furnace or heating unit is clear and free of flammable materials. Your local Inspections Unlimited professional can assist in the process with an inspection of your home's major systems, identifying any problems or damage early.
If your home has a fire place or stove, double check to ensure it is in proper working condition. Inspect the fire place damper to ensure it opens and closes properly. If your home's chimney has not been cleaned recently, consider contacting a local professional. It is not uncommon for a blocked or unclean chimney to result in a fire. Also keep a supply of firewood on hand, being sure to store it in a dry location.
The doors and windows
When considering ways to save energy around the house, double check around your home's doors and windows for gaps, cracks, or openings that could let heat out and cold in - and be sure to repair any you might find. Keep drapes or curtains closed for extra warmth. Homeowners might also consider removing summer screens from windows to avoid damage. If you have add on storm windows, it is also a good idea to install them as soon as possible, since storm windows serve as an added layer of insulation against the cold. Also take a look at the weather stripping around your windows and doors - is it in good condition? Consider replacing any cracked or missing stripping to ensure a proper barrier.
The roof, gutters, and downspouts
If you have yet to take a close look at your home's roof this year, now is the time to do so. Maintaining a roof and gutter system might seem like a daunting task, but it is an important step in preparing a house for winter. Worn shingles or flashing can weaken a roof's efficiency, potentially opening your home to moisture damage or leaks. Be sure to inspect gutters that might have come loose from the structure, along with removing debris and unclogging downspouts. You can read more about maintaining a home's gutter system here. Inspections Unlimited offers a complete and detailed look at the condition of your home's roof, which can identify problems before winter sets in.
The rest of your home's exterior
Take the time to consider other outside elements of your home as well. Remember to disconnect garden hoses, and drain them as necessary. You should also properly insulate outside plumbing pipes to avoid damage that could be caused by freezing temperatures. Also take a look at branches, limbs, or shrubs growing closely to your home. Winter weather can easily snap branches and other vegetation, potentially damaging your home if it falls to close. If you are unsure, contact a local landscape professional or point out the problem during your next home inspection.
Winterizing your home is a vital part in ensuring the life and quality condition of any residence. It also helps to ensure a comfortable winter season for those who live there. Take the time to explore other ideas for preparing for the winter season. Online resources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's winter weather check-list offer great tips and advice for dealing with the challenges winter weather can bring. During your next home inspection, do not hesitate to discuss other ideas for preparing your home and property for winter with your Inspections Unlimited inspector.