Look over this short list of items to be considered as part of your task list for home winter preparation. Most won't take more than a few minutes, but will give you great peace of mind. Visually start at the top of your house and move downward. You'll want to walk clockwise around the home one time, then counter clockwise one more time.
- Study the roof. Do you see loose or missing roof components? (shingles, shakes, cracked tiles, flashing, vent caps, chimney screens, spark arrestors). Have you inspected areas of the roof prone to ice dams?
- What about pine needles, leaves, moss, or other fungus on your roof covering? Remember water shed is the primary concern. It should happen as efficiently as possible; down and away from the home.
- Check gutters and downspouts for debris and deterioration. Leaves are beginning to fall. It's best to stay on top of this one to allow your exterior water runoff distribution system to always perform at it's best. Are there signs of rusting? Leaks may be developing right before your eyes.
- Visually inspect the condition of your siding, trim, soffit, and fascia. You're looking for water stains, peeled paint, loose boards, nesting animals. Depending on what you find, painting, repair, or eradication should be scheduled soon.
- Caulking or sealing of exterior cracks or openings in the siding needs to be noted and attended to. This will not only keep out water, but insects too.
- Windows should be visually inspected for screens or properly fitted storm windows. Windows should open and closely easily. Weep holes should be functional and not blocked with debris. Clean with pipe cleaners. Is the weatherstripping around your window perimeters in working condition? Exterior doors?
- Check exterior wall vents to make sure they are not plugged with debris; combustion air from your heating appliance, bath exhaust, and dryer vents should all be clean and unrestricted. Bath and dryer vents should have working covers that seal off the vent when not in use.
- Consider purchasing a properly sized cover for your air conditioning condensing unit. If not already, very soon you'll be turning off that cool air device and you'll want it covered to keep out winter's ice and migrating debris.
- Go inside and inspect your fireplace. Working doors and screen? How about the damper? If you have a gas log, make sure the damper is restricted from closing completely. You must not allow this damper to close entirely as Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas from your pilot light must be able to escape up the chimney at all times. How long has it been since you had the fireplace chimney cleaned? Consider every 3 years.
While this list is nowhere near complete, I think you get the idea. Please add your ideas to this list as well. We will consider using in a subsequent blog.
Winter? Bring it on!