7 Easy Steps to Winterize Your Home This Season

7 Easy Steps to Winterize Your Home This Season

James M. Cain explained it best when he said, “We only have two kinds of weather in California, magnificent and unusual.” This is one of the benefits of living in California; being able to enjoy its gorgeous weather nearly all year long, including the winter. Even though the winters here are mild, there are things we must do as homeowners to protect our properties from the upcoming season. Let me take you through 7 easy, but essential steps to winterizing your home this season.

Step 1: Clean your roof and check for damages

Making sure your roof is cleared of fallen leaves and pine needles can save you a lot of pain in the future. Leaves and pine needles retain moisture and can cause water build up. This can lead to the degradation of your shingles. Prevent this by cleaning your roof this year and blow away the leaves and pine needles. Double check for any damages to your shingles, cracks in your flashing, and the waterproofing around the chimney and vents. Make sure you get a roofing contractor or handyman to repair these damages before the first rain of the season.

Step 2: Caulk around windows and doors

Check all of the wood trim around your windows and doors to make sure it is sealed. Over time, the heat and dryness of the California weather will cause the caulking to crack and peel, leaving these areas of the home vulnerable to leaks. This is an easy job for you to do on the weekend or you can call your painter or handyman to perform this routine maintenance on your house.

Step 3: Remove leaves from rain gutters

Check all of your rain gutters and make sure they are clear of leaves. Leaves in your rain gutters will cause water to back up and overflow. The overflowing water can collect on the roof, flow down fascia boards and wood trim, and even seep around the windows. This will cause deterioration of the wood trim around your house and result in leaks to the interior of your home. Clearing your rain gutters is an easy way to prevent this type of damage to your property and will save you in the long run.

Step 4: Check and clean your chimney flues for backed up soot

Before you get your fires burning this season check your chimney flues for build-up of soot. This build-up can prevent the proper ventilation of your chimney, which can lead to carbon monoxide creeping back into your house. Get these cleaned out and swept as soon as possible.

Step 5: Inspect your furnace, change filter, and check carbon-monoxide and smoke alarms

In California, it is not as cold during the winter as the Mid-West, but it still gets pretty chilly and you will want to crank up the heat this winter. Schedule your heating and air conditioning contractor as soon as you can to perform a regular maintenance on your furnace before he gets swamped with all his emergency maintenance calls this season. Keeping your furnace maintained will allow it to work at its maximum HVAC efficiency and ensures there is no carbon monoxide leaks. Make sure the filter is changed and while you are at it, check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly.

Step 6: Reverse Ceiling Fans

The winters can become a pretty chilling 30 degrees here in some parts of Southern California. Reversing your ceiling fans will push the hot air from the ceiling down towards the ground allowing you to set your thermostat a couple degrees lower and save in your energy costs.

Step 7: Mulch Leaves instead of Raking

Mulching leaves during the fall can help keep your lawns nourished for the winter. Swap out your regular mower blade for a $15-25 mulching blade and make a few passes over the leaves. This allows the leaves to fall between the grass blades and decompose, giving your lawn plenty of nourishment. This saves you time and energy from raking in bags full of those fall leaves.

Additional Steps for Higher Altitudes

For those of you that live in higher altitude areas like the mountain towns and high deserts, you will be experiencing a lot colder temperatures. Be sure to drain all of your irrigation systems, hoses, and water spigots to prevent the freezing and cracking pipes. Allow the faucets in your home to drip constantly to ensure water flow. This is another way to prevent freezing pipes. Check the insulation of your pipes and repair if necessary. If you are not a full-time resident at your home, it may be necessary to turn off the water and drain your pipes while you are not there.

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