Winterization Checklist

As winter approaches, so do nightmares of burst pipes and $600 heating bills.  With a few small chores though, you can avoid the nightmares, and cozy up with hot cocoa while dreaming of sunshine and daffodils in the spring.

Outside

  • Patio Furniture
    • Clean with car wash solution, which is designed to cut through the dust and grime, using a soft brush.  Rinse with water and let air dry.
    • Derust using a scouring pad (make sure you test first to be sure it won’t scratch the surface!).
    • Wash cushions and fabric using your washing machine, or by hand with dishwashing soap and water.  Store them completely clean and dry to prevent rot and mold.
    • Store it safely.  Hardwood furniture can stay outside, while softer wood furniture needs to be stored inside or covered.  Heavyweight aluminum can be left outside, but lighter weight aluminum furniture is often hollow so it can hold weight and crack–store that inside or covered.  Store any plastic and wicker indoors.
      • When covering outdoor furniture, use a breathable, Gore-Tex like fabric.  Tip: put an upside down bucket in the middle of the table, and put the cover over the bucket and furniture tightly–the rain water will run right off.
  • Landscaping
    • Turn off outdoor water lines, then turn on all of your outdoor spigots and empty them.  Also empty all hoses of water and store them inside. If you have an irrigation system, have the lines blown out.
    • Aerate and seed your lawn.
    • Fertilize lawn and shrubs.
    • Mulch flower beds and prune back perennials and flowering plants.
  • Gutters
    • Clean gutters & check for moss (if there is moss, make sure to sprinkle moss killer, or, a more eco-friendly idea, sprinkle baking soda along your roof lines, and let Mother Nature spread it with the rain.  Baking Soda does a decent job of killing moss).
  • Chimney
    • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected.
    • To prevent damaging leaks in bricks, blocks, or cement, seal the outer surface every five years.  Just apply a clear acrylic water seal like you would paint.

Indoors

  • Heating
    • Program thermostats.  It is cheaper to maintain a temperature than to turn the thermostat up and down.
      • If you set your thermostat to 68 degrees, and turn it up to 72 only when you’re home, you will save as much as 30% on your heating bill.  Keeping your thermostat programmed to 68 degrees rather than 72 degrees can save you 20%.
    • Replace filters in furnace and forced air systems.  Dirty filters causes the systems to waste energy and can cost you 10-30% more in electricity.
    • Clear the path around any space heaters or radiators.  If something blocks the heat, it is also a fire hazard.
    • Insulate any ducting on your forced air system that runs through unheated parts of your home (the garage, attic).  This can save up to 10% on your heating bill.
  • Weatherization
    • Caulk and foam. Light a candle and move it around windows and doors; where it flickers, you’ve got a draft. Seal the gap with latex window caulk or foam sealant. You’ll still be able to open the window, and in the spring you can remove the caulk with a razor blade. If you won’t be opening the window, caulk the sash (where both parts of the window meet in the middle).  Plug door bottoms with stick-on weatherstripping from a hardware store.
    • Insulate water pipes.
    • Insulate your hot water heater with a “blanket”–available at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
    • Block dormant fireplaces.

Now, settle into winter and enjoy your warm home.

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