Homeowners winter check list
This list is not inclusive. Each house has individual items that need to be checked. If you are in doubt or have questions about a repair or procedure, contact a qualified person for assistance.
If you have any lawn and garden equipment (mowers, edgers, etc.) it is important that you take precautions to winterize those items. Equipment should be cleaned, degreased and dry before storage. Greasing all applicable areas helps to remove moisture from that part. Blades from mowers should be sharpened and gasoline should be treated for storage with the appropriate additives.
Always store your equipment in a dry location to prevent corrosion. If possible keep it raised above the ground. If you don’t grill over the winter, store the grill in a dry area also.
1. The foundation
is the first place to start. Walk
around the house and look for any cracks in the foundation. The cracks need to be patched to prevent
further damage. Moisture entering the
cracks freezes and breaks them foundation.
Patching concrete in a tube is the quickest and easiest.
2. Make sure that there is a nice buildup of
dirt around the foundation. The current
recommended slope is about 5 percent.
That is a drop of about 6 inches in a distance of about 10 feet. Home Inspectors and builders estimate that
over 75 percent of the moisture problems in basement can be corrected with
proper grading and drainage.
3. Any blockage in the gutters and down spouts
will allow ice dams to form and force moisture under the roofing material and
siding. Make sure the gutters are
clean. Drainage from the gutters and
down spouts needs to be directed away from the foundation. If your down spouts do not have extensions
add them to achieve a drainage distance of about 5 feet from the
foundation. Make sure that the
drainage doesn't put puddles of water in areas that will be used for
walking. Warm weather thawing and then
refreeze will create dangerous ice spots.
4. Check around all the windows and doors for
caulking. If there are gaps or cracks,
the existing caulking needs to be removed and replaced. Make sure the storm windows fit tight and
there are no airgaps. You might also
check the glazing on the windows.
Glazing is the material that holds the glass panes in the window
frame. This material can dry up and fall
out and needs to be replaced.
5. Replace your
screens with storm windows and storm doors.
Inspect the screens and make plans to replace or patch any damaged.
6. Check your porch and/or deck for damaged or loose
boards. While your under the deck look
for cracks in the foundation and the anchors for the deck supports. Might be a good time to apply additional
sealer to the support post at the bases.
They may be covered in snow and moisture for a significant period of
7. This would also be a good time to treat you
deck with a water sealant. There are a
number of new products out that can be applied while the deck is still wet. This will help prevent the wood from being
damaged under prolong exposure to the moisture of snow sleet and rain.
8. Check the roof for damaged or loose
shingles. Loose shingles can be glued
down with asphalt cement and missing or damage shingles can be replaced. If over 50 percent of the roofing material is
damaged, consider a new roof. Most
roofers aren't happy working on a roof during cold winter months. If you have to hire a roofer, start the job
early. Any loose or damage areas will
be made worse by snow and freezing moisture.
The wind will blow the snow and moisture under the shingles, freezing
and possibly cracking the shingle.
9. Check the flashing for rust or damage. Any moisture that gets between the flashing
can freeze and expand, damaging the flashing and the structure that the
flashing is attached to. Flashing is usually tar paper or metal and put where
the roof meets the chimney, windows and edges.
10. Make sure that the chimney caps are attached
and the screens are in place. No caps or
screens allow moisture and animals to enter the chimney. This would be the time for a call to a
qualified chimney sweep for an inspection and cleaning.
11. Check the
siding reattaching and repairing any bad area.
Soft siding is absorbing moisture and needs to be replaced. Bare spots should be sealed, primed and painted.
12. Check all of
the exterior hydrants (hose faucets) and make sure that they are the freeze
proof type. Do not leave hoses attached to the hydrant.
One evening of freezing temperatures can ruin the hydrant and cause moisture
damage to the house from broken pipes.
13. If you have an lawn sprinkler system, you
need to have a service company flush the system and winterize it.
Labels: home maintenance, homeowners insurance, winter checklist for the home