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Winterization Tips for your Home

Your home is a long term investment and in order to protect your investment you must make sure the home is ready for all the different seasons. The winter season can be harsh on your home. The freeze thaw cycle is especially tough on the house structure and components. Following the below tips and properly winterizing your home you can help protect your investment in your home and ensure it will last you for a long time.

Every fall I send out a reminder "Home Winterization Checklist", similar to below. If you want a reminder each year, like my Stacey's Homes With Steill FB page or send me your e-mail address and I will send you a reminder each October.

Check Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are one of the biggest sources of entry for cold air during the winter time. Not only should you be checking for gaps in and around windows and doors to save energy you should be looking at the exterior components as well. Any rotted wood or damaged components for windows and doors should be replaced immediately to prevent water from entering into the home. Water intrusion can cause further damage through the freeze thaw cycle or even cause mold growth in these areas. If the weather prevents you from repairing the windows and doorways at least cover up and seal as best as possible those areas to prevent water and ice from creeping in. You will need to monitor those areas on a regular basis until a full repair can be done.

Rotted wood around this window is causing water penetration.

The caulking in and around windows and doors can wear out over time due to weather or insect causes.

Caulk seals up gaps that could normally allow water to seep into a home. If that water freezes the chance of greater damage happening increases. Many caulks need to be applied in temperatures above 40 degrees otherwise they do not set or cure properly. If you need to refill gaps with caulk during the cold weather make sure to buy and use caulk that can be applied in cold temperatures otherwise the caulk could not set properly.

Outdoor Faucets and Plumbing

Any outdoor faucets that you have should be shutoff inside the house so there is no water in the outside spigot that can freeze causing a pipe to burst. Some outdoor faucets are designed so you don’t have to shut them off inside your home. For these types of faucets you still should remove any garden hoses attached to the spigots as water can slowly drip into the hose and can freeze back into the spigot causing your pipe to burst inside your home.

If you have plumbing located in unheated parts of your home (crawlspace, garage, or some other place) you need to make sure the temperature in those areas do not fall below freezing. While the inside of your house is kept warm the pipes in these unheated areas run the risk of freezing and bursting causing large amounts of damage in the process.

If you do have unheated areas you should look into low temperature heating solutions to protect the pipes from freezing. Many of these pipe heaters do not use much electricity as they only work to keep the temperature above freezing and can save you money on costly plumbing repairs and water extraction cleanup if you do get a pipe burst due to freezing. Adding a garage heater can help keep the finished areas above the garage from having frozen pipes. Also keep garage doors closed in the winter.

HVAC Tune-up

Your HVAC system should be regularly inspected and tuned up to ensure efficient operation. Over time as system components begin to wear down the efficiency of your HVAC declines. Especially during colder months when fuel is burned to produce heat the risk of serious injury due to old or worn out HVAC components is high.

If your HVAC is leaking poisonous gasses into your home you may not know it until it is too late (having a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home is important). Tune-ups performed by a qualified HVAC technician allow for a thorough check of your HVAC system and prevention of any hazardous conditions.

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are the build up of ice on the roof of your home and that can cause water damage to the inside parts of your home.

The main reasons for ice dams forming are due to poor ventilation in the attic and roof space. Overtime heat from the interior of your home warms the underside of the roof. As the snow warms and the water runs down the roof slope and reaches the cold edge of the roof it re-freezes causing the ice dam. Once the ice builds up and freezes back any additional water is forced under the roof covering and into the attic areas of your home. As water collects in the attic it slowly makes its way into the ceiling and walls of your home. Over time the water can stain ceilings, cause wood damage and allow mold to grow.

There are numerous ways to prevent ice dams including removing the snow before it has a chance to cause ice dams, installing heat tape, installing ice belts, improving insulation and ventilation in the attic and more. If you live in an area where snowfall is regular and your home is of older construction design you may suffer from the effects of ice dams. Consult with a roofing contractor to determine what is the best course of action to minimize the impact of ice dams on your home.

Seal Driveway Cracks

In order to extend the life of your driveway you should be closely looking at the cracks present in your concrete driveway. Even small cracks in a concrete driveway can lead to larger cracking later on as water gets into those cracks and then expands as it freezes. Check your driveway regularly and be sure to fill any cracks with concrete crack filler in order to minimize winter damage.

Asphalt driveways also suffer from cracking and should be sealed and/or repaired on a regular basis.

Bottom Line

Your home is a long-term investment that requires care and maintenance in order to retain its value and give you years of safe and healthy enjoyment. Wintertime is especially harsh on the interior and exterior elements of your home. By properly preparing your home for the wintertime weather you ensure you are protecting your investment in your home and will be able to enjoy it for a long time to come.


Stacey Willis

Lifestyle Realtor

Sweet Home ~ Sweet Life





Stacey Willis | Westfield Indiana Realtor

Hi, I'm Stacey! Welcome the Sweet Home Sweet Life Blog. This is a place for me to share real estate and interior design advice, plus a little behind the scenes. Come say hi >

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