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AM Wall Anchor & Water Proofing Resource Article:

How To Winterize Your Home

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two story home covered in snow after a snowstorm

It’s not too late to winterize your home, getting it ready for the coldest months of the year and protecting your home’s value. While every homeowner or renter should take winterization steps to prevent damage during the winter time, when you own a home with a basement or crawlspace, it takes on even greater importance. Below ground-level areas see less foot traffic, increasing the risk of a warning sign that could let you know your home is at increased risk. Proper winterization helps prevent basement flooding, avoid cracked pipes, and keeps your home warm and dry until springtime arrives.

Prevention Is Key

When you winterize a home, it’s all about prevention. When you find and address issues before they become problems, you are better able to avoid large, often cascading repair bills along with the secondary damage to the property stored in your home and the health of its inhabitants. It is far cheaper to address a leak in the basement in warmer weather than to have it bust during freezing temperatures, flooding the area under your home, damaging your foundation and ruining your additional living or storage area in the process. Every dollar you spend winterizing your home has the potential to be many more dollars saved in medical bills, structural repairs, higher insurance premiums, and mold remediation fees. 

Top To Bottom Inspection

When preparing to winterize your home, start by taking a close look at your property’s health. Make note of any roofing concerns that may allow cold air to enter the attic or water to infiltrate under the shingles. Clean out your gutters and downspouts, then check them for damage. Gutters should allow water to flow freely to the lowest point before entering a downspout that, at the base of the wall, will carry water away from the house. Clogged gutters overflow, dropping water right at the foundation, increasing the likelihood of seepage. Consider installing gutter guards that prevent debris from entering the gutters and extending downspouts away from the house if needed.

homeowner completing an exterior house inspection

Don’t Catch A Draft

Cold air entering the home can drive up your heating bills but it also can point to a maintenance issue in your ductwork. Whether your ducts run over the ceiling or under the floor, they’re often surrounded by colder air, even as they bring warm air to every room of your house. Check your ductwork’s insulation and close any vents to rooms that won’t be in use. If your house has a regular cold spot in winter or a warm spot in summer, it could point to a leaking duct that will let cold air directly into your home while your furnace works hard to heat your attic or crawlspace through the leak. Letting your living areas get too cold while your attic roasts won’t help you prevent basement flooding from a pipe that froze and busted.

Check Your Doors And Windows

External doors and windows with gaps in the sills, missing sweeps, or a loose fit can easily let your heat out. Now is the time to contact a professional about replacements when possible, however, you may be able to make do with short-term solutions like window and door expansion foam or silicone sealant that can fill small-to-medium size cracks. Draft stoppers can make up for a missing door sweep or interior door that is lifted too far off the floor. 

homeowner performing maintenance on their fireplace

Get Your Furnace Ready

An often forgotten step to winterize your home is to make sure your furnace is ready to go before it gets too cold. Clean it thoroughly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, make sure your ducts and vents are clear of dust and debris, change your filter, and ensure your thermostat is working properly and that you have spare batteries on hand if needed. If you have a fireplace or woodstove, now is the time to sweep out your chimney, make sure the ash pit is clear, and ensure you’ve got enough wood or pellets ordered to keep you warm.

Protect Your Plumbing

Frozen pipes and damage caused by them is one of the most well-known risks of failing to winterize your home. Take the time to cover external pipes or spigots, insulating them from the freezing temperatures. Interior pipes can also be insulated or wrapped with a pipe heating cord to ensure they don’t freeze. All plumbing should be checked thoroughly for leaks and repairs made, as this does more than save you a larger plumbing bill down the road. It helps prevent basement flooding that leads to more significant damage.

Waterproof Your Basement

One of the most important steps to winterizing your home is to make sure your basement is waterproofed and protected from infiltration by moisture. This can include insulating joists, wrapping pipes, covering any windows or vents to the outside, and addressing any cracks or leaks. Sump pumps should not only be checked and sump maintenance done, but consider taking measures to ensure your sump discharge pipe doesn’t freeze, forcing your pump to work harder or allowing water to back up into the house. Land should be graded to carry water away from the home, and close brush should be trimmed back to allow for drainage that protects your basement or crawlspace.

Know When To Call A Pro

There’s plenty you can do on your own to get your home ready for winter, but some tasks may require outside help. Luckily, many professional contractors know their customers need to winterize their homes and are ready to help this time of year. For instance, we offer a free basement waterproofing inspection to help you understand risk factors your property may face, your options to protect your home, and a free estimate so you can make an informed decision about protecting your property. It’s the first step toward preventing basement flooding or bowed walls that can damage your foundation.
Find out why our customers love the peace of mind that comes from choosing an experienced contractor who stands behind their work. Schedule an appointment for a free estimate on making basement waterproofing part of your home winterizing plans and call A.M. Wall Anchor & Waterproofing today.

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