Most homeowners focus their attention on the inside of their homes when preparing for winter. However, areas outside of the home should not be neglected when preparing for the cold. Home improvement centers and automobile parts suppliers stock a wide variety of weatherization supplies. Make your outdoor projects easier by completing them before winter sets in.
Seal Windows and Doors
Improperly sealed windows and doors can allow significant amounts of heated air to escape your home. Inspect the exterior caulking joints around your homes’ windows and doors. Look for cracked or failing joints and replace with high-quality exterior caulking. Verify your doors are sealed properly by inspecting and replacing any worn weather stripping, door sweeps and seals around the door opening. Not only will this reduce the amount of heat lost, but it will also help to prevent insects from entering your home.
Insulate Exterior Piping
Exposed plumbing and air-conditioning lines are particularly vulnerable to winter’s icy grip. They could freeze and/or rupture, causing exterior damage as well as a major inconvenience. Insulate exterior pipes by covering them with foam insulated tubing and duct tape. The foam tubing is available in several sizes and is pre-slit for easy installation.
Protect Your Sprinkler System
If you fail to protect the sprinkler system, significant damage could occur during a freeze due to burst pipes. Aside from covering any exposed sprinkler lines, you should also remove as much water from the shallow lines as possible. By using a home air compressor to blow any remaining water from sprinkler lines, you can avoid costly repairs come spring.
Clean Your Gutters
Dirty gutters can lead to ice dams, roof leaks, and water and ice buildup on the ground below. Prepare your gutters by removing leaves, dirt and other debris that may have built up over the summer.
Winterize Your Automobile
Extremely cold weather has a profound effect on your car, and it’s important to protect and prepare your automobile during the cold winter months. Change the oil to thinner, less viscous oil, such as 5W-30. Verify that your car has the proper levels of engine coolant and antifreeze required for the winter months. You should also consider installing a good set of snow tires if you live in a region subject heavy snowfall and ice.
And don’t forget to inspect your battery’s fluid level, terminals and cables, as your battery capacity is reduced significantly during cold weather months.
Robert Ferguson has more than 30 years of experience in residential home improvement, which he shares with writing clients across the U.S. Robert is also a frequent contributor to The Workbench Life.