8 Steps to Winterize Your Home

With winter now underway, the coldest months are right around the corner. Even though most Silicon Valley communities such as Redwood City enjoy generally mild winter months, your home can still benefit from a bit of TLC to keep it in tip-top condition, helping to avoid common cold-weather challenges.

1. Tune Up Your Furnace

For about $100, you can have your heating system inspected to ensure it is clean, in good condition, and operates at maximum efficiency. The technician will also determine if there is any carbon-monoxide escaping from your heating unit. When choosing an HVAC contractor, ensure they are a member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and are certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program.

2. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Reversing the direction of your fan blades results in an updraft that pushes hot air down, keeping you warmer and allowing you to turn your thermostat down a notch or two.

3. Go Up On The Roof

To avoid leaks when the rain comes, check your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles. Also keep an eye out for cracks or damage around vents and chimneys. A roofer or capable handyman can repair these issues quickly and for a small amount of money.

4. De-gunk Your Gutters & Divert Water

Odds are your gutters are piled high with leaves, dirt, and other debris that can restrict the flow of water, leaving it backed up or overflowing the sides of your gutters. Although this can seem like a relatively harmless issue, it can result in damage to your roof, siding and trim. It’s also wise to add extensions to your downspouts, directing water away from your home’s foundation.

5. Sweep Your Chimney

Most of us enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace. Creosote can build up inside the chimney, restricting the airflow as well as depositing a highly flammable residue. Prevent chimney fires and dangerous carbon monoxide leaks by having your chimney inspected as well as cleaned and repaired, if needed.

6. Close the Gaps

Check the exteriors of all windows and doors. If the caulk appears cracked or brittle, it’s time to reseal with a silicone-based product. When inside, if you can see light around the edges of any doors, add or replace weather-stripping to shut out the cold.

7. Wrap Pipes

Though we don’t often experience freezing temperatures, it is still wise to wrap exposed pipes and hose bibs, to keep them from bursting.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • outdoor hose bibs
  • swimming pool supply lines
  • water sprinkler lines
  • water supply pipes in unheated interior areas (basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets)

8. Turn off Automatic Sprinklers

Most landscaping doesn’t require much, if any, water in winter. Turn your automatic sprinkler to the OFF position on the timer and let Mother Nature quench your garden’s thirst.