DIY Tips From the Warner Service Blog

Winter is Coming: How to Prepare your Older Home for Colder Weather

Posted by Warner Service on Oct 6, 2015 4:13:47 PM

There is something charming and vintage about an older home. Its appeal is in wondering the home’s fascinating history while determining the potential ability for a glorious renovation based on your more modern tastes. Though, no matter how beautiful it looks on the outside, it is important for homeowners of older houses to realize that a lot of work is required when keeping up with the routine maintenance. This is especially important with the shift in seasons as homeowners must check on the plumbing, electricity, air conditioning, heating and gas. Do not worry though! To make it easier, here is Warner Service step-by-step guide to preparing your older home for the colder weather:

  1. Be proactive: The key to being fully prepared is getting ahead of the game – or ahead of the cold snap. While the weather is milder, do an once-over of your home’s exterior.
    • Check the weather stripping on all of the doors and windows, and replace it if it is cracked or torn.
    • If your older home is furnished with wooden window frames, look closely for signs of rot and decay. If found, replace or repair the framing.
    • Ensure the rain drains flow away from your home to avoid foundation problems.
    • Make sure the gutters and downspouts have the proper fastening and are clear of debris and leaves.
  2. Focus on the lawn: You may not think about tending to your lawn much in the winter, but preparing it for snow and other elements can save you a lot of trouble and money.
    • Trim the branches away from your home to prevent icy power outages or property damage.
    • Aerate your lawn and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth in the spring.
    • Clean the soil from all of the planters, and bring them inside to avoid cracking from dryness.
    • Remove any attached hoses, and place them in the garage to avoid cracking.
    • Inspect the exterior lighting to prevent accidents on slippery walkways.
  3. Take care of your outdoor furniture: Put your deck furniture in the garage or a shed to prevent any damage from the elements. If you choose to leave everything outside, cover it with a heavy tarp. While you’re on the deck, inspect it for splintering, decay and insect damage. If found, treat it accordingly to prevent further loss.
  4. Pay attention to your home’s air flow: Before the winter hits, replace your HVAC filter for maximum efficiency. Remove any window air conditioners or cover them with insulated liners to prevent pricey drafts. If your home uses fans, switch the setting to reverse or clockwise position so it blows air downward.
  5. Hit the roof: Not many homeowners pay attention to the roof, but it’s so important to make sure it’s in working order. Check it for loose, missing or cracked shingles, and replace if necessary before a leak forms. While you’re up there, make sure the vents and other openings are covered to prevent critters from nesting through the season.
  6. Call in the experts: Instead of being last on the list for house calls, contact a professional about a system tune-up before the hard weather hits. This inspection should also measure any carbon monoxide leakage, so your family is kept safe this season.
  7. Break out the caulking gun: This tool may be a homeowner’s best friend during the winter. If any cracks around windows, doors and the roof are found, you can apply durable silicone caulk (found at local hardware stores), which is best for exteriors because it won’t shrink.
  8. Turn off the water outside: Drain your lawn-irrigation system and turn off the exterior faucets to prevent frozen pipes. If you prefer to keep it on, frost-proof your faucets.
  9. Test your sump pump: Pour several gallons of room-temperature water into the sump pit to see if the pump turns on. If it doesn’t, call a professional or check the owner’s manual.
  10. Stock up on winter essentials: Head out to your local hardware store to purchase salt or snow melt, a snow blower, extra shovels, and ice scrapers.

Before winter comes, check every nook and cranny of your home including the gutters, storm drains, roof, windows, doors, deck, faucets, lawn, and sump pumps. Once you’ve checked it out, call in the professionals to do a routine check-up on your appliances. After two rounds of preparation, you can start focusing on your Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas shopping. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, contact Warner Service today.

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Topics: Maintenance