It seems like the summers are getting shorter and the winters longer, but then again, we say this every year, and it may just seem that way as we get older. Nonetheless, winter is just around the corner, so it is time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Some things can wait, while others cannot.
1.) Garden hoses can be damaged if left exposed to the cold, so start thinking about storage places. In addition, if you have freeze proof spigots, hoses have to be uncoupled to allow the water to properly drain from the spigot to prevent freezing and bursting the line.
2.) Cover outdoor spigots with insulated covers as an added measure to prevent freezing.
3.) Lawn sprinkler/irrigation systems must be drained to prevent damage to the system.
4.) Crawl space vents will have to be closed or covered to keep cold air out of the crawl space. In warm weather, of course, the vents are opened to reduce moisture buildup which can lead to mold and mildew problems, not to mention moisture attracts insects in particular certain termites.
5.) Have your heating system checked before you need it. Heating and air conditioning service companies experience high demand for services during the first cold snap of the season, so get ahead of the rush.
6.) Make sure your gutters are cleaned out. Stopped up drain spouts will allow water to build up and if it freezes it can damage the roofline, soffits, and the guttering system itself.
7.) Prune back any branches that overhang the roofline. Snow and ice can weigh down even healthy limbs that right now do not seem to be a hazard, but once under strain from the weight of snow and ice could snap and damage the roof or walls of the home.
8.) Stock up on ice melt now, because as you know, the minute the first snow or ice is predicted people rush to the stores and clean out the supply. Retail stores never seem to have their act together when it comes to inventorying certain items, because if they order too much then they have to inventory a product that has only one use for a short period.
9.) Service your generators and stabilize the fuel. Make sure they work properly and that you have fresh fuel going into the colder months. Inspect your electrical cords for serviceability and if you had purchased appliances over the summer months, make sure you have electrical cords rated for the appliance and ensure your generator can handle the additional load.
10.) Check your water pipes insulation, and if you use heat tape make sure it is working by testing it before it gets cold.
11.) Inspect your hot water tank blanket, and if you do not have one it is recommended you do get one if your tank is located in a non-heated part of the home such as in the garage, basement, or crawlspace.
This may also be a good time to drain your tank to clear out the sediment. Too much build up in the bottom of the tank can have an effect on the efficiency, and may even cause damage, and in some cases the sediment may build up to the point you cannot drain the tank, because of a clogged spigot. In addition, if you need to use your hot water tank as an emergency water supply, you want it as sediment free as possible and of course you want the drain to work.
12.) If you have a wood burning fireplace or wood stove have your chimney cleaned and inspected for damage before your first fire. Creosote buildup as you know is dangerous and over time it will build up even if you only burned well seasoned wood. Seasoned wood will still have up to 20 percent moisture content which will cause a buildup.