The approach of winter can be challenging for homeowners. Not only do you have your normal household chores to contend with, but you also have to protect your property from the hazards that can accompany cold weather. You might have heard some horror stories from people who had their pipes burst. Fortunately, we have a mild climate in the Sacramento area, with only a dozen or so nights a year dropping below freezing, although some of our surrounding areas do get significantly colder. With a little preparation, protecting your home isn’t too hard. Here’s a quick checklist to prepare your house for the coming winter.
Inspect and Maintain Your Furnace
Regularly maintaining your furnace will always be important, but it’s crucial to make sure the device is working before winter. Otherwise, you could get stuck without heat in your home for an uncomfortable interval. Although you can do some things yourself such as replacing the air filter, hiring a professional to check out the equipment and tune it up would be the wisest move. Either way, ensuring your furnace is in working order should be your first priority. If you need a hand, you can always count on our NATE-certified technicians at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning.
Repaint and Seal Any Exterior Wood Siding
If you have any wood siding, you’ll want to protect it. Exterior wood siding is vulnerable to ice penetration. Without a protective sealant, water could seep in as snow melts. Then, once the temperature drops again, your siding could get destroyed. Apply a new layer of paint to all your wooden siding. After that, put on another layer of sealant. That should keep it safe until spring.
Apply a Concrete Sealer to Any Hard Surfaces
Anyone who has a concrete patio should seal it before temperatures drop below freezing. Otherwise, it could crack. Grab a bucket of concrete sealer from your local hardware store. Then, spray down your concrete patio with a pressure washer. After it’s clean, use a brush to apply the sealer over its whole surface. Sealing concrete prevents water from dripping into any crevices where it can freeze and expand. Preventing cracks is a lot less expensive than repairing them.
Clean Our Your Gutters
Clogged gutters are a homeowner’s worst nightmare, especially during winter. Unfortunately, fall is when all the trees decide to drop their leaves. Before it gets too cold, you’ll want to clean them out. Clean gutters help direct water away from your home. When the snow melts or the rains come down, you don’t want the excess moisture affecting your home’s exterior.
Test Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Most of the time, people will light their indoor fireplaces during winter. While they’re a great source of warmth and comfort, they could also be a source of carbon monoxide (CO). So, before you sit around the fire, make sure your carbon monoxide monitors work. By pressing the test bottom on them, you can make sure they’ll alert you of any toxic gas. As long as they respond when you press the button, they should be all right. You can also do the same thing for your smoke detectors. If they’re not working, replace the batteries.
Drain Your Sprinkler System
Irrigation systems tend to burst if they’re not drained before winter. Then, you’ll have a costly spring project on your hands. Draining them before the weather turns would be a lot easier. Usually, you’ll need to have a professional blow them out. However, it’s a lot less expensive to do this than it is to replace them.
Repair Any Roof Damage
During the winter, little critters love to hide inside the attic. There’s plenty of warmth up there, so you’ll want to climb up on the roof to do an inspection. It might be better to have a professional do this for you, but you can take a quick look for yourself. If you spot signs of broken shingles, it’s time to repair the roof. You should also check the flashing around the edges of your roof and where it meets the chimney. If everything looks good, you probably don’t have to worry.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
Hopefully, you have a caulking gun handy. This will let you easily seal any drafts around your doors and windows. Go through your home and reseal all of these spots. Start with the windows and move on to the doors. For even better results, you can replace your doors’ weather stripping. Adding a draft guard to all your entryways wouldn’t be a bad idea either. The better your home is sealed, the less expensive it will be to keep it warm.
Stow All Your Lawn Equipment
Don’t forget about your lawn equipment. Leaving it outside in the winter is an easy way to ruin it. Pull it into your garage, or you could put it all in your shed. As long as it’s safe, it shouldn’t matter where it goes.
Clean Out the Chimney
Anyone who has a fireplace should clean out their chimney. Cleaning it yourself is probably too difficult, but hiring someone shouldn’t cost too much. They’ll clear out any blockages so you can safely light a fire. A blocked chimney could cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home or even provoke a chimney fire.
Trim Any Surrounding Trees
Trees are a lot more likely to lose a limb during the winter. Take a look at all the trees around your house. If some of them look as though they might break, get someone to trim them. Falling tree limbs might leave more than just a dent in your roof. In fact, they could cause some serious damage. It’s much better to just trim them ahead of time.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Finally, reverse the direction of all your ceiling fans. This makes it feel warmer inside the home. Most of the time, ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise. This pulls air up toward the ceiling. During the summer, this is better because warm air rises. However, once the winter comes, you’ll want the fans to rotate in the opposite direction. Reversing them causes air to be pushed toward the floor. Doing this can even make heating the home more affordable.
Replace Your Thermostat
Heating your home all day could cost a small fortune. Fortunately, you can now get a smart thermostat to help economize. These make it easy to stay warm while saving money. They’ll automatically adjust the temperature whenever you’re gone, and they’ll warm the house back up before you get home from work. By the time you walk in, it will feel nice and toasty. Our team at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning can help with that, too.
Flush the Water Heater
Flushing the water heater helps to remove any sediments. Over time, these can accumulate. Leaving them in there could damage the tank. You should also test the relief valve. Losing hot water during the winter isn’t any fun. If you need to maintain or replace your water heater, let us know.
Keeping Your Home Warm This Winter
Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning started serving the residents of the Northern Valley and the Greater Sacramento region way back in 1989. We’re committed to excellent service, and we’ve earned an A+ rating from the BBB. If you need a hand this winter, we can help you repair, maintain or install a furnace, and we can do the same with cooling equipment in the summer. Besides that, we offer a complete range of plumbing services from clearing a clogged drain or repairing a pipe to installing a water heater or purifying your tap water. Contact Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment.