Winterizing your home to survive harsh conditions is easy, not to mention inexpensive. In fact, if you follow the strategies included here, you may save some money in the long run. Remember that a moment to repair may save you an hour to replace.
Outdoor Maintenance Tips
Always dress properly before beginning any outdoor maintenance. If you will be doing any climbing, be sure that your shoes aren't slippery and that the laces are snugly tied. Good tread on the bottom of your shoes will make a lot of difference when you are climbing on the roof. Gather your tools, including trash bags, before you actually begin. Have a pair of sturdy work gloves to prevent damage to your hands from sharp objects or splinters.
When you perform outside maintenance on your home, it is always a good idea to let someone know what you are doing. Outdoor accidents, while not common, can be serious. You never know when the neighbor's dog will decide to chase a squirrel and knock down your ladder with you on it.
Outdoor Faucets and Hoses
Prevent problems that are caused by freezing water by closing the inside valve to each outdoor faucet. Once the valves have been shut off, go outside and turn the faucet handle slightly to release any remaining water from the pipes.
Gutters and Roof
Remove the debris that has gathered on the top of your roof. Use a soft bristled broom to prevent damage to your shingles. Gently sweep all of the debris into small piles in several areas of the roof. Bag the debris for proper disposal.
Next, clean the gutters by removing any debris. Leaves, roofing grit, feathers, trash have a way of finding the gutters. Removing them now could prevent blockage and water damage. First, remove any large pieces by hand. Dispose of them properly. Use a small hand tool, such as a trowel, spade, or dust brush to remove smaller pieces.
Clean out the downspouts next. They are typically located where the gutters meet the corners of your home. Use a pair of tongs to remove any debris within easy reach. Use a flashlight to look through the gutter to check for more debris. If a buildup exists, you may have to invest in a metal snake to remove it. Investing in this project can prevent a buildup of water on the roof that will eventually leak through your ceiling.
Repair any fittings now. Minor repairs generally involve a simple tighteningof the fittings in order to secure the downspouts and gutters of your home. Major damage to the fittings will require that you them. Measure them for size before going to the hardware store.
Repair minor damage to the downspouts and gutters. Use a bit of silicone caulk and small pieces of aluminum to repair any small holes or tears. Small holes only enlarge over time and can lead to extensive water damage later.
Flush the roof with water to completely remove any small pieces of grit or debris. Consider covering your gutters with a hardware cloth to prevent any future buildup of debris.
Doorways and Windows
Check windows and doors to get an idea of the extent of necessary repairs. Examine closely for caulk that is beginning to pull away from the surface. Remove the old caulk completely and dispose of it properly. Clean the surface area that has been exposed by the removal of the old caulk. Allow the area to dry completely. Re-caulk the area.
Gather large pieces of trash and dispose of them properly. Sweep all debris from the deck area and dispose of it as well. Clean all of the outdoor furniture. Cover it to protect it from the harsh winter weather. Clean and put away all pool toys, floats, and accessories including skimmers, thermometers, and other poolside items. Remove and replace any loose deck screws and nails with new ones. Dispose of old ones properly.
Continue to Part 2: Inside Your House >