Everyone has to winterize their house. Unless you live some place like Hawaii. Then you have another problem. To winterize can mean a little bit of work, or a whole weekend of stuff, with stuff still left over to do. It can be a daunting task.
As a DIY home goddess, you have a lot of stuff already on your plate, so let’s make it just a little bit of work for you. There are something things you need to hire out to do, but I won’t put the majority of them on the list, because it is a big enough list as it is. If you have a hubby, significant other, or older kids, get them to help you with this.
I am sure you have heard about the snow the east coast was hit with a few weeks ago. I was part of it. I spent the better part of three days shoveling out my sidewalk, my bushes, my vents, my car! We had about 24-27 inches of snow that accumulated in about 24 hours. I started shoveling right when the snow started. Fortunately I was just about done when everyone else decided to make their first foray into the blinding whiteness. It pays to start early!
I had done a few things, but not quite enough. My handyman had turned off my water. But I almost forgot I didn’t have a shovel. You see, my shovel had fallen apart last winter, and I had forgotten to replace it. So here I was, the day before the snow was to start, and I am running around town trying to find a shovel.
If you can’t find one at a home improvement store, check your local drug store , a grocery store, or your nursery. These places had them, and no one was thinking of looking there.
And of course, silly me lost the spare house key. I keep it in a rock for my handyman and relatives in case of emergencies. When I was cleaning the area to find the dryer vent, I must of tossed the rock into the snow. It took 3 days of melting for me to find it!
Winterize the Entrances and Exits
- Use matches or a lighter around windows to find leaks around doors and windows.
- Check and replace the window stripping around moveable surfaces, such as doors or windows that open. Hopefully the weatherstripping should already be there, and you don’t have to decide if it should be there instead of caulk.
- Use caulk if the surfaces are immobile, like windows that don’t open.
Stuff you keep outside
- Clean, dry and cover your patio furniture with a heavy tarp. Best thing to use here is a BBQ grill top. They are fairly inexpensive, and unless you have a lot of wild animals, it will last enough years to make the cost worth it.
- Drain your hoses and store them in your shed. This will keep them from cracking during winter months. If they crack, they need to get replaced.
- Store any patio furniture or gardening tools in the shed. Don’t leave them outside for the winter.
- Turn off the water outside at your faucets. You know, the places where you just removed the hoses from?
- Replace the air filters that are attached to your heater/air conditioning unit. They should be changed every month anyway!
- Make sure your fireplace flue is closed to prevent unnecessary drafts. Just make sure you open it before you use it for roasting marshmallows!
- Replace the filters in your humidifiers. What you don’t have any humidifiers? We will have to talk about that.
- Check the smoke detectors for working operation. We will replace the batteries in the spring (spring forward, remember?)
- Reverse the ceiling fans to blow the hot air down toward you, instead of up.
Winterize the Outside of Your Home
- Clean the gutters and make sure they are secured to the sides of your home. This you might be able to do yourself, but I hire someone, because of my fear of falling.
- Eye ball the roof for repairs and call someone for repairs immediately. This is to something you don’t want to do yourself.
Dealing with the nasty white stuff
- Yeah, this has nothing to do with the house, but stuff you will also need to deal with in the winter.
- Make sure you purchase ice melt and sharpen your ice scraper before the first freeze. And don’t wait until the day before the predicted freeze, or you will find nothing left in the store. You can sharpen a plastic scraper by hand with sandpaper, or they are so cheap, just buy a new one!
- If you are lucky enough to have a snow blower (I sure could use one, but don’t know if my tiny yard would make the cost worth it) change the spark plug and the oil. And keep it near the front of the shed!
- If you don’t have a sturdy shovel, get it now! As soon as winter starts blizzarding around, they will totally disappear from the shelves everywhere.
- After the snow, make sure you clear the area where your dryer vent is, for healthy air reasons.
- Move your spare key inside the house, or put it in your car (see above story).
If you want more stuff to do, check out the master of home repairs, Bob Villa: Bob’s extensive honey do list.
Or print out my check list here.