Monday, October 18, 2010

Winterizing your Home

October is the time of year to get your home ready for winter. That way when it's cold and snowy outside you can sit inside or grab you skis and head out without worrying about your home.

1.Get your fireplace or wood stove ready

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

  • Buy or cut your firewood. Always make sure it is dry and split and stored in a dry area with easy access to your home.

  • Have fire starter and matches or a lighter on-hand to light the fire.

2. Furnace Inspection

  • Remove flammable material from around the furnace.

  • Inspect and clean your furnace and install new filters.

  • Stock up on furnace filters and change monthly during heavy winter use.

3. Caulk and Weather stripping

  • Ensure that doors and windows are air tight and if they aren't, caulk and or weather strip them. If you are able to seal a window or door that will not be used during the winter, cover with plastic to increase insulation and prevent drafts.

4. Check and repair your Roof as necessary

  • Check your roof for missing shingles, shakes or damaged material.

  • Check around vents for damaged material or cracked caulking.

  • Also make sure you have extra roof cement in case you need to make emergency repairs.

  • Install gutter heat tape to prevent ice dams and frozen gutters, if that is a problem at your home.

5. Close foundation vent

  • If your home is equipped with foundation vents, close them when the weather turns cold and then reopen in the spring when the weather warms up.

6. Outside watering system

  • Make sure to drain all outside lines that are not insulated.

  • Make sure electric sprinkler valves are drained (including the anti-siphon valve).

  • If you use a ball valves outside make sure the are left in the open position or well insulated.

  • If you have some lines that have water in them during the winter, use electric heat tape and insulate to prevent freezing.

  • Also, I drain all my garden hoses and then re-coil them on their hose racks with the nozzle installed on the end. I do not connect them to the hose bib. This way if there is a fire I will connect the hose to the hose bib and be able to use it to put out the fire.

  • Make sure to insulate all outside hose bibs if they are not the "frost free type".

7. If you leave your home for an extended period of time during the winter. If you are a second home owner or a local headed to a winter vacation.

  • Turn off and drain all water. If you do not have a "DRAIN AND WASTE VALVE", have one installed by a plumber to make this job easier. If you have an electric hot water heater, turn off the electrical circuit that feeds it when you turn off and drain the water from your home.

  • Open all faucets and flush all toilets.

  • Add RV anti-freeze to all drains and toilets. Do not forget the shower and washer drains. Drains: 1 cup, Toilet bowels: 4-5 cups, Toilet tanks: 2 cups.

  • Set your thermostat at 50 degrees

8. Miscellaneous Winter prep Tasks

  • Contract for snow removal service. As you will not be able to find anyone to do the work after a big storm if you did not have a contract

  • Install snow stakes to mark anything that you do not want the snowplow to hit, such as curbs, flower bed,s steps, etc.

  • Check to make sure your flashlights, oil lamps and other emergency supplies are in good working order. Also stock up on batteries for flashlights, radios etc.

  • Check the anti-freeze in all of your vehicles and make sure there is an ice scraper, tire chains (and know how to install them) and a shovel in each of them.

  • Make sure your snow blower is in good working condition and you have a gas can with STA-BIL and gas in the can. Make sure you use STA-BIL with your gas or it will lose it's octane in about 30 days. So if your gas is without STA-BIL it will not start your blower.

9. Now you can sit back and enjoy the winter

  • Wax and tune your skis.

  • Check out your snowshoes and bindings

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