Winter is quickly approaching and for the Northwest that means it’s time to get ready for wet weather. Prepare your home for the changing season by taking these steps to stay warm and safe and to prevent structural damage from moisture problems.

Make sure that you are prepared by following our winterization checklist.

Inside Your Home

  1. Start by cleaning the chimney and inspect it for damages that could cause a fire.
  2. If you don’t planning on using your fireplace, you can buy a chimney balloon to prevent drafts.
  3. Look at the weather stripping and caulk on your doors and windows. Fill in any gaps with caulk and replace weather stripping if needed. 
  4. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Homes that use gas heat should have one to ensure your family isn’t exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide that can stem from a gas leak or plugged flue.
  5. Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  6. Flush your water heater to make it more energy efficient and to potentially extend the life of it.
  7. To force hot air back down and keep you warm, switch your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. 
  8. Replace your furnace filters to make it more energy efficient.
  9. Schedule a furnace inspection by a professional. This could cost between $50 and $100 and should include checking fuel connections, burner combustion, and the heat exchanger. 
  10. Put draft guards on entry doors to block cold breezes.  
  11. Adding a layer of insulation to your crawl space and attic can not only make your home warmer in the winter, but it can keep it cooler in the summer as well.
  12. If you plan on leaving your home for a few days, make sure the heat is set to at least 55 degrees.
  13. Upgrade your thermostat to a programmable one. You can set these digital thermostats for different temperatures throughout the day to save energy. 

The Yard

  1. Move potted plants inside and store outdoor furniture and barbecue grills inside as well or at least cover them.
  2. Consider adding a new coat of sealant to your wooden deck to combat high moisture.
  3. Seal cracks in your driveway or sidewalk.
  4. Buy bags of ice-melt or sand in case snow sticks.
  5. Check your yard drainage do ensure water flows away from your home.
  6. To prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting, drain all outdoor faucets and turn off the water.
  7. Drain garden hoses, roll them up, and store them in the garage.
  8. Winterize your lawn irrigation system by draining it as well. If you have a complicated system, you can have a professional help, but it will cost between $50 and $150.
  9. Too much moisture shortens the lifespan of building materials. Prune trees around your home to make sure trees do not touch the roof or siding.
  10. Seal entry points that small animals might use to crawl under the house.

 The Roof

  1. Inspect the flashing to make sure water will not seep into your home.
  2. Check for shingles that are loose and secure them. Replace old worn shingles or tiles.
  3. Clean out your gutter and downspouts. Winter can bring heavy rain, making it imperative to have clear drainage. 
  4. You can install leaf guards on your gutters as well as extensions on downspouts to send water away from your home.
  5. A big problem over the wet winter is moss on rooftops. Now is the time to apply moss killing granules or a liquid solution. Ensure you purchase roof specific granules as lawn granules contain iron, which would create rust on your roof. 

Plan ahead and follow these winterization steps. Taking action now can save you from a big headache and a lot of money on home repairs if you don’t do anything. Don’t forget in January to do a follow up on your crawl space. Standing water from drainage problems and moisture might not be visible in crawl spaces until this time. If you have followed these suggestions though, you’re likely to have a safe and warm winter in your home.