In the previous post you learned how to check your heating ducts and do minor repairs to make your central heating system more energy efficient. You also read about inexpensive ways to increase the insulating qualities of your existing windows – as an alternative to dropping dough to get dual-pane, specialty frame replacements. These are helpful winterizing tips for everyone, whether you live in a high-rise downtown condo or single-story suburban house. If you do live in a single family home, there are some additional steps you can take to protect your home, and your budget, from the long winter ahead.
Clear and Secure Gutters
Clean out the fallen leaves and other gunk that builds up in your gutters during autumn. It is important to unclog the gutters and downspouts because water trapped inside can rot eave boards and home siding, damage foundation, and incur many costly repairs later on.
After clearing the leaves and debris use your garden hose to run water through the gutters. Look for leaks and spots where the downspout has disconnected from the eave trough. You’ll also be able to see if there are clogs in the downspout from obstructed water flow. Use specialty silicone gutter caulk to seal small gaps and remove blockages by spraying water into the downspout. You may have to take the spout off to clean tough, hard to reach clogs. Reattach the dislocated downspout and caulk seams.
Take the time to ensure your gutters are securely fastened to the house. Over winter, the weight of snow and ice build-up can pull gutters from the structure where gutter spikes are loose. Replace with gutter screws for best durability. All materials you need to complete this project should be available at home improvement or hardware stores.
Winterizing Garden Care
You shouldn’t leave gas in your motorized lawn care equipment during winter because long periods of nonuse and cold temps can gunk up the engine and lead to corrosion. To prevent this, drain extra fuel from the lawnmower and other machines into a gas can and run the engine to burn off what’s left inside the system and tank.
Turn off the water to your sprinkler system and use compressed air to blow out the excess water inside the lines. Outside faucets should also be shut off and drained of remaining water by cranking open the spigot. This will eliminate the risk of your pipes bursting. Exterior hoses should be drained of water as well, and storing them in the garage is a good idea. It is recommended to all this by late October to accommodate any early winter freezes.