Thursday, November 13, 2014

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Update: The full list is now posted below.

Many forecasts this year call for a snowy winter and this weekend we might see an early cold snap.

So this might be a good time to review the steps to winterize your home!

In this example, there are two hose bibs that need to be turned
off (front and rear of house) from the utility room

In particular, you will want to turn off the outside hose bibs (faucets), draining them of any standing water so the water pipes won't be damaged by the expansion of frozen water.

A more extensive listing of winterizing tips from our builder was posted a couple of years ago:

As colder weather approaches you can take a few key steps to ensure your home serves you well through the coming months. Please take time to check these items in and around your home and attend to any that need maintenance.


  • Clean, test and replace batteries in smoke alarms
  • Test and reset ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) breakers/receptacles
  • Change furnace filter
  • Operate heating system; if service is needed it is more conveniently arranged before the busiest part of the season arrives.
  • Adjust registers and dampers.
  • Review safe fireplace operation. Provide professional cleaning at regular intervals.
  • Check caulking, inside and out, and touch up. 
  • Maintain clean drains by adding one-half-cup baking soda followed by one-half-cup white vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with boiling water.
  • Clean kitchen appliances inside and out, including refrigerator coils.


  • Drain your [outside lawn] sprinkler system. Remove hoses, drain them, and store them indoors, coiled or flat.
  • "Winterize" exterior faucets to prevent water from freezing and expanding into the pipe causing a broken water line.
  • Adjust or replace weather-stripping on exterior doors as needed.
  • Check the fit of exterior doors; thresholds are adjustable -- use a quarter to turn the screws.
  • Check caulking, inside and out, and touch up.
  • Check the garage overhead door, tighten bolts as needed, and lubricate the rollers in the tracks. Have other repairs done by professionals.
  • Clean gutters, check downspouts and confirm that splash blocks drain away from the house.
  • Check foundation, concrete, and yard for settling; fill in as needed for positive drainage.
  • After snowfall, brush snow off gutters and away from downspouts.
  • Remove ice and snow from concrete and masonry promptly; avoid de-icing agents with damaging salts.
  • Store outdoor furniture and cushions.
  • Test snowblower and have it professionally serviced if necessary.

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