When the fall rolls around, it’s time to get out your home winterizing checklist and make sure you’re ready for the cold. While it may not get super-cold in Fairfax, VA, it does dip below freezing often.
Whether you just purchased your home this year or you’ve lived in it for decades, preparing for winter is a part of being a homeowner. If you don’t have a good home winterizing checklist, you’re in luck. Below you will find a checklist to help you get your Fairfax home ready for winter.
A Home Winterizing Checklist for Northern Virginia
1. Have Your Heating System Inspected
Your heating system is necessary during the winter. You want to keep your home cozy and comfortable. Hiring an HVAC specialist to inspect your home’s heating system is a good idea.
2. Clean Your Chimney & Fireplace
If you have a fireplace and you plan to use it, hiring a chimney sweep to clean it is a good idea. You want to inspect the chimney for cracks and debris as well.
3. Check Smoke Detector Batteries
The U.S. Fire Administration has shown about half of home heating fires happen during the winter. Now is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and your carbon monoxide detectors.
4. Insulate Pipes
A frozen pipe can lead to major issues. It’s best to insulate any pipes near windows or doors. You should also disconnect your outside garden hose.
5. Check Windows and Doors for Air Leaks
Checking for air leaks in the weatherstripping around your windows and doors is a good idea. If you find any leaks, you want to replace the weatherstripping or caulk. Not only will this help keep your home warmer, but it will also help you save on your power bill.
6. Clean the Gutters
Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, which can cause damage to your gutters and your roof. Take the time to clean out any dead leaves and other items to ensure water can flow through your gutters freely.
7. Reverse your Ceiling Fans
You will find a switch on your ceiling fans to turn the blade the opposite way. During colder months, this helps to push heated air down.
8. Get your Humidifiers Ready
The winter tends to be a time when you don’t have as much humidity in your home. If you have a whole-house humidifier, make sure it’s ready to go. Clean the drain line and replace the media panel, if necessary.
9. Trim the Trees
A tree limb can become dangerous during an ice or snowstorm. While Northern Virginia might not experience as much ice or snow as northern states, it only takes one bad storm.
Take the time to trim away any dead tree limbs and any limbs that could damage your home if they fell. You can hire a professional to handle this job if it’s not something you can do yourself.
10. Check your Outdoor Lights
The winter months present more darkness with the sun setting earlier. You want to check your outdoor lights and make sure they are working properly. This will help to prevent falls if the walkways or your driveway become slippery.
11. Protect Your Patio Furniture
You can choose to store your patio furniture during the winter or you can cover it with a heavy tarp. It’s best to store it in a garage, basement, or shed to protect it from rusting or becoming damaged.
12. Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater
While this item isn’t specific to the home winterizing checklist, it should be done every year, if not twice a year. Draining the sediment from your water heater will help to give it a longer lifespan and keep energy bills lower.
13. Test Your Sump Pump
If you have a sump pump, you want to make sure it’s working well. This will help to ensure your basement remains dry and doesn’t become flooded.
14. Inspect the Roof
Since the winter season isn’t a good time to be up on the roof, now is the time to give it an inspection. Look for loose or missing shingles and look for broken seals around vents. If you spot issues, have a professional repair your roof before winter.
There may be a few other things you need to add to the home winterizing checklist specific to your home. Make sure you check all your systems and you’re ready to go for the winter. If you don’t take the right steps, you could end up dealing with a home repair on the coldest day of the year.