Although we don't have to worry about pipes freezing or ice dams forming on roof lines during the winter months here in the Bay Area, there's still preparations that can be done to circumvent potential issues or catastrophes. In this post, we address ten ways you can winterize your home—starting now.
1. Check Your Furnace
Like any major appliance, your home furnace needs routine maintenance - and there's no better time than the present to have your furnace checked before the colder winter weather sets in. Minimally, you should be replacing the air filter, vacuuming ducts and air vents, and visually inspecting your furnace for signs of any irregularities. However, it can pay to hire an HVAC professional to inspect and tune-up your furnace professionally. An efficiently operating furnace won't just keep your family warm and cozy, it will save you money on your utility bills.
2. Inspect Your Water Heater
A cold shower is never fun - especially when you’re expecting it to warm up from the cold, outside elements. Although water heaters only last an average of ten years, you can extend their lifetime with proper maintenance. A common cause of failure is erosion from its bottom, often resulting from years of sediment that builds up inside the tank and eventually rusts. An excellent way to prevent this is to have your water heater flushed at least once a year. Also, look for valve leaks or pilot light issues, which can be easily fixed.
3. Seal Gaps, Cracks
Do a quick inspection around the doors and windows of your home and look for any noticeable gaps. Simply caulking any of these gaps or cracks can help keep heat from escaping during the winter months, thereby keeping your home more comfortable and your utility bills lighter.
4. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are helpful during the warm weather months to keep your home more comfortable by pushing down and circulating air. In the winter, did you know that you can save up to 10 percent of your heating costs by reversing your ceiling fans to create the opposite effect? By changing the ceiling fan rotation, cooler air is drawn up, and warm air is pushed down. It's a great way to retain heat in your home.
5. Inspect Your Roof
It's always good to get in the habit of inspecting your roof at least once a year, even in Tri-Valley and Lamorinda areas that aren't subject to harsh winter weather. Look for loose shingles, cracked or damaged flashings, and other potential issues. Address them appropriately. Even performing a thorough roof cleaning can ensure your roof remains in good condition, preventing rain and moisture from getting into your home and causing irreversible damage.
6. Test Your Exterior Lights
Safety dictates the importance of proper exterior lighting. Thus, it's smart to check your home's exterior lighting now before the colder winter months set in. Cooler temperatures don't just characterize the winter months, but shorter days as well. And when the days are short, it's essential to have proper exterior lighting both from a security and safety standpoint. Whether it's motion-sensor lights, path lighting, or in-ground accent lighting, adequate lighting at this time of the year is essential. If you have existing lighting already in place, check the bulbs or consider changing them out.
7. Check Your Wood Deck
Many homeowners assume that painting or staining a deck is best done during the spring months. Actually, the fall is an ideal time to do so. Why? Because a proper painting or staining now can more adequately protect it from the moisture that is more frequent in the winter months. Thus, keeping your deck in good condition longer. So if your deck requires some TLC, take care of it now, in the winter, not after.
8. Add Rain Sensors to Your Irrigation System
Unlike other harsh winter climates throughout the country, you shouldn't need to blow out your sprinkler system during the winter. In fact, with California lawns unlikely to go completely dormant, you'll need to ensure that it's still receiving an adequate amount of water each week to flourish come spring. An excellent way to protect your lawn is by investing in rain sensors. These sensors work to ensure that your lawn is getting the proper amount of water and will prevent any sprinklers from kicking on if water is needed.
9. Maintain Your Landscaping
From roof damage and clogged gutters or downspouts, to branches that scrape against windows or doors, unkempt trees and shrubs can do a number on your property during winter storms. That’s why fall is an ideal time to clean up your yard and button up your landscaping.
10. Clean Out Gutters, Downspouts
Finally, we'll round out this list with the all-important task of cleaning your gutters to ensure that water can properly drain away from - and not toward or into - your home. Over time, your gutters are bound to collect leaves and other debris, and when they do, there's a chance that your gutters will become clogged and won't correctly divert water away from your home. This can lead to overflowing gutters and foundation erosion, or even water entry into your home.
Contact Us Today
If you have additional questions about how to properly winterize your home or need assistance finding a good service provider, contact Gayler Design Build today. We would be happy to connect you with a trusted resource within our network.
And if you're considering a home remodel, we're standing by ready to help. At Gayler Design Build, you can expect to be guided through the entire process, from design through construction. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss ideas for your home.