10 Steps for Winterizing Your Home Outdoors
Winters are notoriously unpredictable in Raleigh, NC. This fall we have endured significant temperature swings, historic flooding, and drought conditions. Experiencing all four seasons every year keeps homeowners on their toes. Before the weather turns cold, it is important to make sure you prepare your house for winter.
In this article and the next we will discuss twenty steps for winterizing your home. In this post, we will break down ten steps for preparing the outside of your home for winter. In the next, we will help you ready the indoors.
1) Clean Your Gutters
During Fall, gutters will inevitably become clogged with leaves, pine cones, and other debris. If water is not free to pass through your gutters, when the rain, snow, and ice fall, your roof and siding can be damaged. Additionally, unclean gutters are likely to rust, malfunction, and require premature replacement.
2) Prepare Hose and Sprinkler System
Before winter, make sure your hose is rolled up and stored properly. Otherwise, water may freeze and puncture it, rendering it useless for Spring. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure you clear the lines by blowing compressed air through them. Store your sprinkler system and turn off the water supply to it.
3) Store Outdoor Yard Items
Winter weather is tough on your outdoor furniture and tools. Check your yard and store items you will not be using during winter such as:
- Grills and heaters
- Furniture and toys
- Lawnmowers and weed-eaters
- Wheelbarrows and other tools
- Pet toys and beds
4) Check and Clean Your Chimney
One of the simplest pleasures for homeowners is sitting by a warm fire; however, if you have a wood burning fireplace, it is vital to perform maintenance on your chimney before winter arrives.
An improperly vented fireplace can lead to health and fire concerns for your family. Follow these steps:
- Check for Debris: Examine your chimney for bird nests, leaves, and storm debris. If you find debris, it may be time to call a professional for removal.
- Check for Damage: Look for obvious signs of damage to bricks or vents.
- Have Chimney Cleaned: Your chimney should be inspected and swept yearly.
- Chimney Flue: Make sure your chimney flue can open and close, and will lock in the open position.
- Check for Draft: Before lighting a fire, you can check for a chimney draft by rolling up and lighting a thick newspaper. If the smoke does not rise to the top of the chimney, contact a professional for inspection and repair.
5) Plant Care
Have blankets ready to cover outdoor plants on cold winter nights. Make sure you are familiar with which plants need to be brought indoors when temperatures drop below freezing.
6) Check Your Roof
In Raleigh, we have had strong winds several times this fall, especially during Hurricane Matthew. Check your roof for missing shingles and damage. Check your attic for signs of leaks or water damage. Problems associated with a leaky roof will be exasperated when we receive rounds of snow and ice.
7) Have Trees Trimmed
Heavy thunderstorms and tropical systems throughout 2016 have loosened limbs and tree roots around the area. Wet snow and freezing rain are capable of felling large trees. If damaged or heavy limbs are hanging over your home (or your neighbor’s home), have them removed before winter threatens their integrity.
8) Install Storm Windows and Doors
If you do not have storm windows or doors, or they need repair, up to 40% of your home’s heating energy could be lost throughout winter. Contact us for more information regarding the cost benefits of installing quality storm windows and doors.
9) Check Your Siding
Damaged siding can be exasperated during winter storms. If your siding needs attention, have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible; otherwise, minor, inexpensive repairs could become costly.
10) Care for Your Pets
If you have outdoor pets or livestock, make sure they have adequate bedding to stay warm during cold nights. Dogs, cats, rabbits, and other domestic pets will need to come indoors when the temperatures drop in a few months.
In our next post, we will discuss important steps for preparing the inside of your home for winter’s cold. For more information regarding siding, doors, roofing, and windows, contact us.