It’s the middle of January, and maybe you haven’t taken weatherproofing and winterizing your home seriously. You’re not alone. Sure, keeping the outside of your home (and in turn the interior) safe from any harsh winter elements should be a priority, but sometimes it can take a backseat to other more pressing holiday plans. Now that the holiday fun is dwindling for a moment, it’s the perfect time to get outside and check your home’s exterior for any seasonal threats.
If you’re like me, you don’t have a preset pre-winter home checklist to complete. After all, as a proud procrastinator, completing a checklist in a timely manner isn’t something I can commit to. If you can’t either, there are still a few things you should make sure to check up on around your home, especially if it’s located in a state that sees a lot of rain or snow. Don’t have a lot of time? No worries. If you don’t consider yourself a DIY homeowner, you can use this time to simply examine your home for possible winter pitfalls, and hire a professional service to take care of any jobs that might be outside of your comfort zone.
Check Out Every Window Frame and Entry Doors
When’s the last time you thoroughly checked the outside of your windows and entry doors? It’s a good idea to check these annually, at least. Make sure that seals on windows and door frames aren’t weathered or have noticeable gaps. Not only will these gaps reflect in your energy bills when you’re trying to keep your home warm in the cooler months, but any unwanted openings from the outside can be perfect entryways for unwanted pests and moisture. If the chalk around windows or weatherstripping around doors has seen better days now’s the time to fix them.
Not seeing a gap, but have doubts about your window frame’s integrity? Check for drafts. Feel for noticeable pockets of air coming through a frame, or ask someone to use a hairdryer on one side of the window and feel for any warm air passing through the closed window. If you’re feeling a draft, it’s time to renew the caulk along the window frame.
Do a General Check of Your Home’s Exterior
No matter if your home is built from brick or vinyl siding, it’s always the safe bet to make sure that the exterior of your home is intact. Spotted any broken siding, or deteriorating brick or stone material? It’s time to call in the professionals. Of course, many homeowners choose to do exterior repairs on their own, but if you’re under a strict HOA or the repairs are simply out of your wheelhouse, I suggest not taking the risk. If the winter weather has been mild so far, but you’re seeing mild to moderate wear on your brick or stone home, it might be time to reseal your home, especially if you’re living in an older or historic residence. Obviously, any sealant needs the proper time to cure, so it might not be an option if you’re seeing unpredictable rain or snow. If however, the weather’s been mild, resealing your home can keep further damage from happening over the course of the season. Personally, when I take a look around the exterior of my home, I’m looking for:
- Open vents with damaged screens
- Large holes
- Potential pooling spots
As with the summer months, I’m playing close attention to spots that might be infiltrated by unwanted pests. I take extra care to make sure any vents leading directly into my home are safely closed and that worn spots on the surface or soffits of my home aren’t becoming the ideal home for rodents and the like to make their holiday home. As for pooling spots, I tend to pay extra attention to pooling spots that might create major damage to walkways and my driveway, as well as water pooling due to a damaged rain gutter.
Clean Rain Gutters Annually
Which leads me to my final point. Take a look at your rain gutters. If you’re like me, you don’t necessarily clean out your home’s rain gutters as much as you should. In fact, it was only after a major rainfall one year that I realized there the significant amount of debris within my rain gutters lead to slight water damage around the top of my home and created puddles that would eventually freeze into dangerous miniature skating rinks. Do yourself a favor, and if you haven’t checked your rain gutters yet, do it before any damage occurs.
Add to Your List as You See Fit!
Of course, you can add anything appropriate to this list to get your home ready for the rest of winter, but these three tasks are simple enough to finish over a weekend.
- Check windows and door frames for drafts.
- Check your home’s exterior for holes, unwanted pest nests, and significant damage.
- Clean out your home’s rain gutters.