Oct 15, 2012 / 5:00 am
Winterization is the process of preparing a home for the harsh conditions of winter. It is usually performed in the fall before snow and excessive cold have arrived. By the end of this month most of your winterization should be completed.
Inspect and repair siding
Have a walk around your house and inspect your siding from grade level. For those hard to view areas, you may need to view your home from a short distance using binoculars. Look for damaged paint, warped or split wood, cracks or holes in stucco, and missing or slipped siding panels. Your repair tool kit will depend on what kind of siding you have. For example, wood siding may require wood putty, waterproof glue, nails and screws; stucco may require wire mesh, stucco patching compound, a trowel and a chisel.
Air leakage around doors and windows
Leaky window frames, door frames, and electrical outlets can allow warm air to escape into the outdoors. Check around door and window frames for air leaks. Check windows and window tracks for a secure fit. Clean tracks of any debris to assure a snug fit. Caulk around the exterior of door and window frames to prevent air from entering if necessary. On a breezy day, a homeowner can walk through the house and find far more leaks than they knew existed. Leaks are most likely in areas where a seam exists between two or more building materials.
Chimneys and dampers
Make sure your damper is in good working order by opening and shutting it prior to lighting the first fire of the season. The damper should open and close with ease. If you didn't clean your chimney at the end of the heating season, do it now — especially if you burn soft woods, which release more creosote. Smoke should rise up the chimney when the damper is open. If it doesn't, this means that there is an obstruction in the chimney that must be cleared before the fireplace can be used. Often the first indication that a chimney needs cleaning is a chimney fire, so preventive maintenance is important.
The damper should be closed when the fireplace is not in use. An open damper might not be as obvious to the homeowner as an open window, but it can allow a significant amount of warm air to escape.
Inspect the chimney for nesting animals trying to escape the cold. Squirrels and raccoons have been known to enter chimneys for this reason.
Protect air conditioners
Cooling season is over. Before you cover your air conditioner with a breathable water proof cover, shut the power off to the unit. Doing so is a safeguard against using a bagged unit next year. If you need to, gently use a vacuum or a hose to remove leaves and other debris from the outdoor condensing unit.
Either remove and store window air conditioners or cover them as they are no longer needed. Cold air can damage their components and enter the house through openings between the air conditioner and the window pane.
Store outdoor furniture
It’s a good idea to wash up and store outdoor furniture. Use a breathable water-proof cover to so that they will last longer. Store or cover your barbecue unless you cook with it all year.
For more information on winterizing tips click here.
(Photo: Hugh Cairns)
For homeowners, each season arrives with a list of things to do. Fall is no exception.
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