Winterizeyour home

Published on Thu, Dec 14, 2006 by Jefferson Livingston

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Winterize your home

By Jefferson Livingston

Pillar To Post, a Florida-based home inspection company has these helpful hints on preparing your home for the winter months:

Roof Structure
Remove moss from roof. Avoid pressure washing as this often causes more damage than good. Solutions and instructions can be found at most home improvement centers.
Check condition of flashing and repair any loose or damaged shingles.
Clean gutters. Even small amounts of debris can clog downspouts.
Keep trees and branches trimmed six feet from roof and off power lines.

Exterior Items
Trim all vegetation 12 inches away from siding.
Keep earth six inches below or away from siding and all other wood while maintaining a gentle slope away from the home.
Remove all debris away from home such as leafs to help keep pests away.
Store firewood at least 10 feet from home to help avoid pest infestation.
To help protect your home from water keep all gaps and joints in siding, even around doors and windows, caulked and keep well painted and sealed.
Add storm windows in older homes for better heat efficiency.

Crawl Space
Insulate plumbing lines to help protect them from freezing. Water heaters may also be wrapped in insulation or other material to help keep electric costs down.
Keep all foundation vents unblocked year round, except during freezing weather, to provide adequate ventilation especially in the winter months when it is most damp.
Measure and purchase correct size vent plugs before freezing weather arrives.

Have chimneys and flues professionally cleaned before use. Soot build-up can lead to flue fires which often cause house fires.
Gas and propane furnaces should be serviced on an annual basis.
Replace or clean filters.
Have heat registers professionally cleaned (or vacuum out as far as possible) to cut down on dust or other impurities in the air.
Check weather stripping around doors and windows.
Replace smoke alarm batteries.
Add carbon monoxide monitors if your home uses gas or propane for any appliances or has an attached garage. They are also needed if you burn wood.
Add UV lights where desired to help cope with the not-so-bright Northwest winter.

If you do have “frost free” hose faucets turn water to facets off or insulate them at interior and exterior.
Remove all hoses. Even if you have “frost free” faucets freezing water from hose can damage lines.