Winter is coming. Not just to the Seven Kingdoms (Game of Thrones fans know what I mean), but to all of Lewis County and beyond. With this winter already seeing record snow and rainfall, our tendency is to hunker down and wait for spring. However, don’t start your winter hibernation just yet. Take a good look at the status of your home first. Because, while the “whitewalkers” won’t attack in southwest Washington (we hope), the wet, cold and moss certainly will.
To come out victorious in the fight against winter elements and keep your home safe, warm and working properly, follow these 8 tips shared by the home experts at Boggs Inspection Services. After hundreds of home inspections, the inspectors at Boggs know the wintertime weak points in a home and how a little bit of time now can save a lot of headaches (and cash) in the long run.
- Perform routine maintenance on your heating system.
For a smaller than you’d think fee, a technician from a local HVAC company can inspect all parts of your furnace or heat pump. The benefit of professional eyes on your system is saving you the headache of a heating failure during a cold spell mid-winter. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to book an appointment as wait times increase as temperatures decrease.
2. Reverse the rotation of ceiling fans.
This tip is my favorite. Not only is it free, but it was an “ah-ha” moment for me and most likely is for you. Check the motor housing of your fan. Most include a small switch that will reverse the rotation of the blades, forcing air down, back into the room. In the winter, hot air from furnace vents (or your woodstove) rises to the ceiling. Reversing your fan circulates heated air down toward the people sitting on the couch. If you have vaulted ceilings this is especially important and could result in you lowering your thermostat (and heating bill).
- Check exterior hose bibs and sprinkler lines.
When temperatures dip below 32 degrees, exterior lines will freeze, causing the water in them to expand and crack the pipe. Avoid costly repairs come thaw time by disconnecting all hoses and covering your hose bibs with insulating covers. If your home is less than 10 years old, you likely have “frost-free” hose bibs and should not need to cover them. Ensure you drain your sprinkler system as well. Not sure how? Call a lawn care company to walk you through the job over the phone or come by and perform this essential maintenance for you.
- Inspect fireplaces and chimneys.
No one likes a chimney fire. Follow this comprehensive checklist crafted by Boggs Inspection Service to make sure your winter fires are safe.
5. Seal doors and windows.
Even tiny gaps around doors, windows and pipes can cause significant heat loss in a home. Visually inspect around doors and windows from the exterior and caulk any gaps or cracks. To analyze the entire building envelope, hire an energy auditor. Their inspection will find potential areas of heat loss, even ones you can’t see at all.
6. Inspect your roof.
Picturesque fall seasons lead to leaves and needles on our Pacific Northwest roofs. And, when left to sit throughout the winter they will trap moisture leading to potential issues. If you are up to it, climb onto the roof (using standard safety precautions) and inspect flashings, shingles and gutters. Use a rake or blower to clear debris, but be careful to work in the direction of the shingles, avoiding pulling up the edges. If you’re not interested in risking life and limb, call a professional. An inspection and cleaning job shouldn’t break the bank.
- Check gutters and downspouts.
Rain. We are good at rain in the Pacific Northwest. But rain is not good for your home. Check to make sure all rain water is directed away from your home. Clear gutters of blocking debris and make sure they connect to a downspout in good repair. Downspouts should direct water away from your home and connect either to an underground drainage system or a splash block placed underneath. Don’t let rain become your home’s worst enemy this winter.
- Put down the pruning shears.
Between rain showers, it’s tempting to do a little yard work in the winter. You can pull weeds to your hearts content but let trees and shrubs lay dormant until late winter. Just before new spring growth begins you have the green light to prune away unwanted branches and reshape shrubs. Local Master Gardeners Associations or a nursery can guide you on best practices for specific species in your garden.
Want to go beyond your own inspection and find out whether your home is hiding any surprises? Call Boggs Inspection Service for a full home inspection. Even though their primary work is done during a real estate transaction, these professional inspectors also offer general home inspections year-round. For just a small fee, they can put your mind at ease (or help you prioritize needed repairs) during the long winter ahead.
For more information, visit Boggs Inspection Service online or call 360-480-9602.