Winter Home Maintenance To-Do List
By: Danny Lipford
Outdoor Winter Home Maintenance
- Siding and Trim: Tighten up your home’s exterior by caulking and sealing cracks around siding, doors, and windows. Fill small cracks less than 1/4” wide with exterior caulk. Wider gaps should be filled with foam backer rods topped with caulk, or filled with expandable spray foam.
- Windows and Doors: Take a look at your home’s windows and doors to be sure the weather stripping and thresholds are in good shape to keep your home energy efficient in winter. If not, it’s not hard to replace weather stripping on newer doors. Take a piece with you to match the style, then cut it to length and push it into the groove. For older doors consider self-adhesive weather stripping or strips that are nailed in place. You can also replace the rubber strip in your door’s threshold, or install a door sweep on the bottom of the door.
- Garden Hoses: To protect your garden hoses from freezing, disconnect them, remove the spray nozzle, draining out all the water, and store them in a shed or garage. If you need to use a hose in winter for occasional watering, keep it disconnected and drained in between uses, and be sure sprayer valves are removed or left open to allow water inside the hose to expand.
- Outdoor Spigots: If your home doesn’t have frost-free outdoor faucets, be sure to drain and winterize them to prevent pipes from freezing. Winterize outdoor spigots by locating and turning off the shutoff valve under the house, then open both the faucet valve and the bleeder valve located near the shutoff. Allow all water to drain out of the pipes, then close all the valves once more. If your outdoor spigots don’t have shutoff valves, install insulating foam covers over the faucets themselves.
- Water Pipes: It’s a good time to insulate water pipes under your house to prevent them from freezing. Foam pipe insulation is easy to install by simply cutting it to length, opening the insulation along the split edge, and fitting it around each pipe. Joints in the insulation can be taped to tighten the seal.
- Gutters and Roof: During freezing winter weather, ice dams can be very damaging to your home, as melting snow trickles down the roof and re-freezes along the eaves. This backup can allow water to wick up under your shingles and cause water damage inside your home. Ice dams are most likely to form when the attic is warm due to leaking heat from the living area, so be sure your home is well insulated. Prevent ice dams by sealing air leaks, adding insulation to the attic, and making sure attic ventilation systems are installed and working properly.
- Holiday Decorations: Enjoy the holiday season by hanging decorations and lights on your home! Throw away any old or frayed light strands, and update old lights to energy efficient LEDs. To avoid damaging your home with nails or hooks, consider hanging decorations using cable ties and self-adhesive bases.