It’s that time of year again…

Winter-proofing your home is a tedious task if you put it off until it’s already cold outside. Take some time this weekend to make sure your custom home is ready for the change in season so you can sit back and relax once the cold comes!

Check windows for air leaks

Cold drafts coming into your home through improperly insulated windows can drive up your energy bill and cause unpleasant temperatures inside your home. Protect your budget and preserve your cozy space.

Inspect fireplace

 If you have a masonry fireplace  make sure it is good to go before firing it up for the first time this season. Inspect your chimney from the outside- make sure there are no bird nests or debris built up on the cap and the area is free of tree limbs or other flammable material. Check to see if any mortar or bricks aren’t crumbling or missing all together. Inside make sure there are no critters or flammable material inside the fireplace. Check the flue damper to confirm it seals, opens, and closes properly. 

For gas fireplaces, less maintenance is required. Check that the gas logs are seated in the proper position. Test the igniter after turning the gas off at the shut-off valve. Check the glass for cracks or latching issues. Always refer to your owners manual for product specific instructions. 

Check your trees

Winter storms can often cause loose tree limbs and branches to fall. Check the perimeter of your home and trim any branches that are within five feet of your home to save you a trip to your roof later this season. If any trees around your home appear to be dead, it is a good idea to get the tree removed sooner rather than later. Dead trees are more likely to lose branches or completely fall over. They are also extremely attractive to pests that most people would rather not deal with. 

Clean out gutters and downspouts

As mentioned in our spring maintenance tips, it is good practice to completely clean out your gutters at least twice a year. The end of fall is a good time to do this so you don’t have to find the motivation to go outside and clean them when it is very cold outside. Clogged gutters and downspouts can damage your home’s foundation, leading to pricey repairs. Stay on top of it by cleaning them out now and replacing any damaged or worn out materials. 

Protect your pipes

We have all heard the horror stories of a burst pipe and how costly they are to repair. Make sure your pipes are protected with insulation and repair any pipes that may need maintenance. Indoor pipes in unheated areas like the basement or crawl space are more likely to burst, so pay special attention to these areas. 

Secure outdoor water sources

If you have garden hoses or sprinklers outdoors, drain all the water out and store them in a dry and/or indoor location. Doing this before the first frost will prevent freezing, bursting, and permanently damaging these tools. To properly drain your hose bib, cut off the water supply from the indoors and then open the spigot until all the water has drained. Never leave a hose hooked up to a hose bib in the wintertime. 

Check your heating system

Sooner rather than later, you should turn your heating system on and confirm that it is working properly. Turn your thermostat to heat mode and set it to around 80 degrees fahrenheit. Listen closely to hear the furnace kick on and within a few minutes you should feel warm air blowing out of your vents. If this works, turn it off and sleep easier that night knowing you’re ready for that first really cold day. If your furnace isn’t kicking on properly you may want to call a service technician before it gets too cold. Always change your filters at least every 90 days.

There are so many things you can do to winter-proof your home. Custom homes take a lot of time, effort, and money to build. Stay on top of maintenance to ensure your home remains beautiful and livable for decades to come!