Winterizing means a lot of different things to people in different locations. Since Colorado is a cold state—sunny, but oh so cold–take a long look at these six things and check them all ASAP!
The Big Six Winter-Ready Checkboxes
Winter comes with a myriad of hazards, from black ice, deep snow, and blowing winds in the negative digits. First and foremost, please make sure that you’re wearing proper winter attire before you attempt to get your house ready for the cold. After all, you’re not going to be able to get through the list if you freeze to the ground.
#1. Protect Plants, Trim Trees, and Empty Sprinklers
Even if your plants are happy and healthy, it’s nice for them to have a fresh pile of mulch to hunker down in during the cold season. Apply two to four inches of organic mulch over the roots and at the base of any plants that are still above ground. Herbaceous plants that die back and the re-bloom in the spring should be covered with just as much mulch to keep them from freezing.
While you’re out there, trim any overhanging branches from your trees so that accumulating ice and strong winds won’t bring them down onto your house, car or garage.
If you have a sprinkler system and haven’t emptied it yet, now is the time to disconnect the water and blow it out according to your system’s design.
#2. Check Your Gutters.
Gutters are one of the big causes of ice dams, which can cause water to back up into your attic. This is all bad stuff if it happens over and over, so to be safe, give your gutters a good once over and clean out anything that has accumulated since your last round of cleaning.
#3. Cover Your Outside Faucets
Pop into the nearest home improvement store and grab a styrofoam cover for each of your outdoor faucets, even if they’re frost free. They’re easy to install, hold tight all winter, and are easy to store until the next year—very economical!
#4. Wrap Your Pipes
Homes with crawl spaces are especially susceptible to frozen pipes during the winter. First, make sure your foundation vents are closed to keep cold wind from blowing into the space. Second, anything on an outside wall should be wrapped with pipe insulation (re: styrofoam covers), pipes with chronic freezing problems should have heat tape installed. Frozen pipes generally aren’t any fun, but when they go a bit further and burst it’s kind of a big deal.
#5. Caulk and Weatherstrip Doors and Windows
Go around your windows and doors with a caulk knife and remove any caulk that’s loose or dried up, then grab the caulk gun and go crazy, angling the tip so you can move across a section of trim with a single motion to create an uninterrupted bead.
This is also the right time to check your weatherstripping. When you’re replacing weatherstripping, take a sample of the type you need with you to the hardware store because the options are pretty impressive. This step is especially important as weatherstripping seals out cold air in major openings throughout your home—between door jambs and/or in-between windows.
#6. Have You Had That Chimney Checked?
Sure, you can do your own chimney inspection, but you can also do your own root canals, so it’s actually kind of a bad idea—a really bad idea. A quick check by a chimney sweep is an affordable alternative to a chimney fire. The thing is that what you can see from the hearth isn’t much, a lot of chimney fires start further up—you might not even know you’ve had one.
If you have a wood stove with a double or triple walled flue, you may have better access to the entire length of the chimney, but don’t ever take a chance on anything that burns as hot as a wood stove or fireplace. This is one item in your house that can have disastrous results if you don’t treat it with respect. Leave it to the professionals.
It’s officially December, so winter is here!….
This weekend, get out there and prep your property for the sharp winds and sheets of ice that seem to come out of nowhere. Not to mention the random blizzards with accumulating snow. You can be sure to reward yourself with some hot chocolate or apple cider! If you feel like adding a few extra hands, give us a call and we can point you in the right direction for a fantastic chimney sweep, plumber—just be sure you warm their spirits with some hot chocolate or apple cider as well!
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REALTOR®, BOLD, EcoBroker, CNE, CHRE, ILHM, KW Luxury
Professional Denver Real Estate for the Urban at Heart