Fall is a great time to get your home ready for the colder months ahead. If you're considering buying a home, it's also a good time to run some checks on the property before the big move.
From inspecting foundations to insulating windows, there are several things you can do to protect your property and prepare it for winter weather.
Check for Foundation Issues
Before you start doing any winter prep, it's important to get an idea of the state of your home’s foundation. You can do this by inspecting the foundation and checking for cracks or signs that water has been leaking into it. If you don't know what signs look like, check out our previous article on how to identify foundation problems!
If you find a crack in your foundation, repair it before winter hits because once cold weather sets in, it will only get worse if left unchecked. If there are already cracks in your basement walls or other areas where moisture can pool up (like around windows), make sure these are sealed properly with caulking so no water can seep through during the colder months.
Insulate Windows and Doors with Caulk or Weather Stripping
Insulate windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping. Caulk is a good way to seal windows and doors, while weather stripping helps keep out cold air.
You can buy both of these at your local home improvement store, but if you're not sure how to install them yourself, hire a professional to do it for you (it's worth the cost).
Inspect Your Deck, Porch and Patio
Make sure your deck, porch and patio are in good shape before winter hits. Inspect them for cracks and loose boards, rot, water damage, signs of insects (like spider webs), signs of wear and tear (like peeling paint), or signs of water damage (such as mould).
Trim Back Trees and Shrubs From the House
Trim back trees and shrubs from the house. Remove dead or diseased branches, and keep trees and shrubs at least 3 feet away from the house. Keep them from touching wires and power lines.
Drain Pipes and Hoses, Install Faucet Covers
Drain all outdoor hoses and store them in a dry place. Install faucet covers to protect against freezing temperatures, which can cause pipes to burst and damage your home's foundation.
Clean Gutters, Drainage Ditches and Downspouts
Cleaning gutters, drainage ditches and downspouts is an important step in preparing your home for winter weather.
Remove leaves, twigs and other debris from the gutters.
Clean out the downspouts and make sure they are draining properly.
Make sure the downspouts are draining into a storm drain or other safe place, not into a street or yard where they could cause flooding during heavy rains or snowmelt.
Clean Chimney, Fireplace and Wood-stove Flues
Clean out the flue and chimney to make sure they're not blocked with ash or soot. Make sure the damper is closed. Check that there are no gaps in your fireplace between the firebox and chimney, which could allow cold air to enter your home through these channels.
If you're using a wood stove, make sure any glass doors on it are tightly closed. An open glass door can lead to drafts from outside entering your home through gaps in its frame.
Cover Crawlspace Vents With Plastic
The crawl space is prone to moisture problems and it can be difficult to properly insulate and seal those spaces.
Covering the vents will help keep the crawl space dry, which will reduce heating and cooling costs. It's also important that you make sure there are no gaps around pipes or between floors or walls and the foundation of your home.
Check Your Sump Pump and Make Sure it is Working Properly
Your sump pump will be your best friend once spring comes around and snow begins to melt. It's important to check the system leading up to winter and make sure that it's working properly.
This will help prevent flooding in your basement or crawl space in the spring.
Here are some tips for testing and maintaining a working sump pump:
Check the hoses, filters and float switch frequently. If any part of your system has become clogged with debris, it could prevent water from draining properly into the sewer or septic tank. You'll want to clean these parts out as soon as possible so they don't cause damage over time!
Check for leaks on all connections between pipes inside walls/floors/ceilings where pumps are installed through holes drilled into these surfaces (you might have more than one).
Direct Downspouts Away From House
You should direct downspouts away from the house. The last thing you want is to have your foundation undermined by water and soil erosion, which can happen if you have a downspout directed towards it. The best way to avoid this is to put your downspout on an angle that takes it away from the house, rather than toward it.
Insulate Pipes in Unheated Areas
If you have water pipes in an unheated area, like your garage, make sure they are insulated properly. This is the most important thing to do in the winter as it will prevent freezing and potential burst pipes. You can use foam or blankets to insulate your pipes.
You can also insulate gas lines and other types of pipe heaters to keep them from freezing.
That’s it! We hope these tips helped you prepare your home for the winter weather and make sure it stays warm and cozy through all those cold months ahead. Remember to stay safe out there, and remember that if you ever have any questions about your properties foundation, give us a call at (204) 837-3739