Cleaning your basement and winterizing your home in preparation for the cold winter months should never be an afterthought. The comfort and safety of your home depend on the measures you take in autumn. You don’t want to wake up to a flooded basement due to a burst water pipe or find your roof leaking. Implement these simple but effective home prep tips and you won’t have to worry about what winter weather throws your way.
Check Your Heating System
Test run your thermostat to ensure it can turn on your furnace. If the furnace isn’t working, get a heating professional to troubleshoot the problem. Autumn is also the best time to carry out seasonal maintenance tasks. Replace the old, dirty air filter with a new, clean one. Inspect and remove obstacles from the heating vent. Make sure exhaust vents are clear of obstructions that can interfere with heating and gas exhaust. Don’t forget to check for carbon monoxide leaks.
Winterize the Air Conditioning System
Far too many people neglect their AC, one of the critical components of their homes. Your air conditioning, which churns heat away in summer, needs some attention too. Clean its condensing unit, and specifically the fan blades and coils with a high-pressure hose to remove dirt or debris. Once it dries, cover it with a breathable, waterproof material.
Remove and store your window AC units. Left in their position, these appliances will likely let in drafts, as they’re hard to seal. Use an AC cover if you’re unable to remove them.
Winterize Water Pipes
The cold winter weather won’t be kind to your water pipes. Plummeting temperatures and the cold may cause any exposed water pipe to freeze and burst. You will be staring at extensive damage and costly repairs. Systemically review the pipes and insulate all exposed pipes in uninsulated areas like exterior walls, your attic, crawl space, or basement with foam insulating sleeves.
Next, drain your exterior faucets and turn the inside water supply. Disconnect the garden hose from the outside tap and drain it. Insulate the hose bibb. If you’re not going to use the water supply or outside plumbing during winter, shut them off.
Upgrade Your Insulation
Insulation flaws can mean the difference between a warm, cozy interior and a cold one. Evaluate the insulation around your home in readiness for winter. Consider upgrading the hot water heater insulation and the insulation for exterior outlets or switch plates. Inexpensive foam and insulating blankets will come in handy. Don’t forget to seal your unused fireplaces with insulation. This way, you will stop cold air coming down your chimney.
Inspect and Seal Doors
Air may infiltrate the gaps and openings around your doors and windows. This will result in higher-than-usual heating bills. Inspect the caulk around moldings of your door frame. Re-apply the exterior-grade caulking if need be. Replace the worn or damaged weatherstripping around doors, including the door sweep at the bottom. Check for air leaks and seal gaps around your doors.
Inspect and Seal Windows
Check your windows’ molding for missing or damaged caulking. Reseal gaps using superior exterior caulk. If you have older windows with missing or cracked panes, reglaze them. Ensure the window tracks are clean and free of debris that could weaken the seals. Inspect the locks to ensure they’re all functional before winter arrives. Don’t forget to check for air leaks around the hinges or slides.
Inspect the Roof
Outside of your home, do a quick inspection of the roof. You can climb over or ask a roofing technician to do it. While up there, check for missing or damaged shingles, leaks around the chimney, and other projections. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are all clean and functional. Debris and dirt can weigh down the gutters, increasing the risk of damage.
Prepare Your Yard
Make sure the landscape is ready for the winter too. A bit of lawn and garden care can save your precious plants. Pay attention to the flowerbeds and garden. Prune your trees and shrubs, then water them properly.
Cover your patio furniture or move it indoors. Seal the wooden deck to protect it from the rough winter weather. Clean and store your outdoor accessories and tools such as shovels, rakes, and pruners. If you need help waterproofing your basement or help winterizing it, JES Foundation Repair can help. Schedule a free basement repair inspection and quote with our professionals in Washington, DC. We’ll carry out any necessary repairs and prepare this area for the harsh winter weather.