Whether we like it or not WINTER IS COMING! Now is the time to finish fall home projects to safeguard your home for the winter. By doing these projects now, you can also have a jump start if you’re thinking about listing your home for sale in the Spring. Also, most of these, if not all, can be done by you. No need to take on the expense of hiring it out. BUT if you have doubts, hire a professional to get it done right... and safely!
Take a look at soffits, fascia, siding, windows, and garage, whatever needs it! Get all the outside painting done now before it’s too cold for exterior paints. The maximum and minimum recommended temperatures for exterior paint vary depending on the type (oil or latex) and specific brand of paint used, but a general rule of thumb is that oil-based paint can be applied when the temperatures are between 40°- 90° F and latex between 50°- 85° F. The best drying will occur when the relative humidity is 40% to 70%.
Most likely you had a few storms over the summer and it is important to look over your roof after each storm. Even if you did not see any damage at the time shingles could loosen up so look for any signs of this and any damaged or missing shingles. If you have not done so already, make sure you remove or use a blower to get all the wet and rotting leaves removed. By doing all of this, you can avoid costly leaks as snow melts off your roof this winter. Also don’t forget to check and repair any areas around flashing seals, vents, and chimneys.
If you have a wood burning fireplace, make sure you get your chimney inspected and cleaned. This is very important to avoid any fires or carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.
Your gutters help move water and debris away from your roof and home. Clean out all gutters full of leaves, branches, and debris. If you don't clean the gutters out, you can be looking at expensive repairs as water can back up and settle causing mold and decay, let alone, possible leaks to the roof.
Windows and Doors
Check windows, door frames, and joints. If you see any gaps fill them with silicone exterior caulk. If they are old and leaky, replace them now before the weather makes it miserable to change them out. Especially for a home sale, consider updating these items. NEVER have plastic on your windows in the winter if your home is for sale…scares most folks away! Once the weather is cold enough that you no longer plan to have your windows open for a fall breeze, go ahead and remove the screens, label them, and store them in the garage or basement. By doing this you will have a nicer, cleaner view and more sunlight and also it helps prevent moisture build up with casement windows that often times leads to mold! While you’re at it, be sure to clean those screens so they’re nice and bright when it’s time to put them back on.
Avoid broken pipes by draining water and turning off all exterior water faucets. Also, it is highly recommended that you turn off the shut-off valve inside your home. This is also a good time to drain out any garden hoses lying around. To keep hoses in good shape and to prevent cracking, store inside away from any direct weather elements.
Before the trees get full of snow and possibly break off branches from the weight, hire Jason’s Tree Service to trim them back away from your home. By keeping the trees trimmed back, you also avoid the risk of having branches, or the entire tree, fall on your home, shed, or garage. Have a professional manage this task, as the last thing you want is a tree going down on your neighbor’s property.
Lighting (interior & exterior)
Since you will have a step ladder out to replace the batteries in smoke detectors, check your light bulbs in your home. Dark evenings will call for more lights. This is also a good time to consider replacing standard bulbs with energy-efficient ones that will save you money. I even replaced mine with the LED daylight bulbs. It looks like noon in my home all winter long! Also, don’t forget those outside lights. While it's still warm outside, turn on all your exterior lights and walk around looking for any that are burnt out and need to be replaced. The long, dark days of winter are easier to manage when those outside lights work too!
Make sure your heating system is clean and in good working order before the cold weather hits. Change furnace filters now! The furnace will be running all winter, which means that lots of air will be pushing through your ducts and into your house. Your furnace has to work extra hard to push air through when the filter gets clogged up with dust, pet dander, and other airborne bacteria. Changing those furnace filters makes your heating system run more efficient which saves you money. By taking care of your heating system now, you avoid those last minute or late night expensive repair bills.
Silly as it might seem many people forget to change the rotation of their ceiling fans. If you have a switch on your fan, this is a two second process. Your fan blades should be running in a clockwise direction for the winter. Since hot air rises, this clockwise direction will push down the warm air from the ceiling.
It is best to get in the habit of changing batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms during Daylight Savings Time (which happens to be “FALL back” 1 hour on Sunday, November 1, 2015). Even though these batteries are not fully dead, replacing these can save lives! Don’t toss those batteries, use them in children’s toys and electronic devices, such as remote controls. Why not use up the last bit of energy they have before you recycle!
Checking your sump pump should be something you do several times a year. Check to make sure it is working correctly by slowly pouring several gallons of water into the pit to see whether the pump turns on. Even in the winter, the sump pump will run periodically as those warmer sunny days melt away some of the snow. Of course refer to your owner’s manual for any additional instructions.
By doing these winter preparation tasks and repairs before the frost hits, you can stay warm and toasty inside and also know that you are being proactive by helping your home run more efficient.