Preparing your home for winter may not be a priority for you — especially since Las Vegas winters are quite different from the rest of the country. However, the cold weather can lead to long-term and costly damages to your property. That’s why it’s important to prepare your home for winter before the season actually kicks in. To help you out, we’ve made a winter preparation checklist to help ensure you keep your home safe and secure during the colder season.
Preparing Your Home for Winter in 9 Steps
1. Check Your HVAC System
A crucial part of winterizing your home is to tune up your HVAC system before the weather turns too cold. This means it’s best done during the moderate temperatures of fall (and not in the frigid winter days).
Hire a reputable HVAC contractor who can inspect, clean, and do the necessary management to your HVAC system. They will be able to pull apart the burners, check the contacts and sensors, and change filters. Essentially, they’ll help ensure your heat will work safely and efficiently throughout the season.
On your own, you might want to regularly inspect your system. See if the filter is still up to par, and replace it when it turns black or brown. You can also change the batteries of your detectors as needed.
2. Clean Your Gutters, Downspouts, and Drainage
If these areas are clogged, debris can freeze and turn into icy mass that could eventually damage your property and lead to expensive repairs. To prepare your home for winter, it’s vital to take time to clean out your gutters, downspouts, ducts, and other drainage systems.
On your own and with proper caution, use a leaf blower or vacuum to remove leaves, debris, dust, and other unnecessary particles. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging or trapping water. If anything is damaged or worn out, replace them immediately.
Try to spray water down the downspouts to ensure there are no leaks. You can also install leaf guards to help water flow away from your home.
3. Double-Check Your Doors, Floor, and Windows
Cracks and holes in doors and windows will leak heat and bring in cold air. To winterize your home, it’s best to reseal these and eliminate drafts to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Install caulking with layers of plastic film around the edges of your windows. For doors, install a bottom seal to prevent cold air from entering. To seal drafty windows and doors, use weather stripping or window-film kits.
For baseboards, fill in gaps between the trip and the floor. Also, gaps in the floors can lead to heat loss, so cover them with silicone-based filler. If yours are made of wood, carpets or rugs can do the job.
Keep in mind that you should only caulk the outside perimeter of your windows’ and doors’ molding. Also, do not cover air vents, as you may be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if they are blocked in a room.
4. Inspect Your Chimney and Fireplace
Chimneys and fireplaces, especially wood-burning ones, build up creosote and ignite soot — which can be a potential hazard when the winter season comes in.
That’s why another crucial part of winterizing your home is to have your fireplace inspected and cleaned before you use it for the colder months. This applies even if you’re not using wood or don’t use it regularly. A chimney sweep pro will make sure it’s safe to use, and even identify maintenance problems.
Want to go the extra mile? Install a steel liner to protect your home in the event of a chimney fire.
5. Don’t Forget About the Roof
One of the most important steps when preparing your home for winter is to double-check your roof. If you can’t do this yourself, a contractor should be able to help you.
You’ll want to inspect and fix defects such as:
- Blistering, buckling, or curling shingles.
- Broken, loose, or missing shingles.
- Cracked caulk or rust spots.
- Cracked or worn out rubber boots surrounding vent pipes.
- Masses of lichen or moss.
Remember, winter brings in different elements — hail, heavy rain, storm, and of course, snow — all of which can cause damages to the roof.
6. Trim the Trees
Before the peak of the season, scan your property for branches that may be growing over your house, driveway, and garage. Some may even be affecting your neighbors’ homes or the powerlines.
While fall and winter aren’t the best times to trim your trees, it’s best to do so to avoid ice-coated branches affecting your home. Plus, branches that rub together can lead to breakages. Other warning signs to look out for include dead leaves that remain attached to the tree, missing bark, and mushrooms that have sprouted.
Again, if you’re not too sure how to handle this, it’s best to call in the experts, like an arborist.
7. Drain and Shut Down Outdoor Water Systems
This is a simple way to prepare your home for winter but it’s widely overlooked by many homeowners.
If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, remove any residual water to avoid freezing, expanding, and cracking of pipes. It’s recommended to hire a contractor to blow out the water, properly shut off the water source, and open the drain valves to let water flow out.
Also, your outside water faucet will freeze over the winter. It can develop leaks or even split the water line inside the house. To avoid this, shut off the water valve to your outside spigot, head outside to open the exterior spigot valve, and let the water drain out.
Similarly, if you have an outdoor pool, be sure it’s properly cleaned and shut down for the season.
8. Think About Insulation
Any exposed pipe is a potential hazard during the colder months. Water inside can freeze and cause the pipe to burst, causing much bigger damage to your home.
To avoid this, clear the lines and turn off valves before the season gets too cold. Shut off hose bibs inside the house and drain the pipe lines.
More importantly, insulate spigots and exposed pipes. You can DIY this with materials from the hardware store. Cut to fit the pipe, wrap around properly, and secure with duct tape. For pipes in your garage, you can wrap them with fiberglass insulation, foam rubber sleeves, or heating tape.
9. Make Sure You’re Protected
The final and equally essential task in this winter preparation checklist is to make sure you’re protected where possible.
Winter is a season where furnaces blast or start fires. And with houses closed up tight, carbon monoxide is a big hazard during the winter months.
Check all your smoke detectors, replace the batteries if needed, and make sure they’re working properly. It’s also best to equip your home with carbon monoxide detectors.
Before the peak of winter, review your coverage with your home insurance company. Confirm how your policy can protect you from potential winter damages and losses. Doing this will help you identify possible gaps in your insurance and better prepare for what the season brings.
While Las Vegas doesn’t experience the season like other places in the country — one of the many reasons why people move to the city — it’s still important to prepare your home for winter. Following these tips will help reduce the risk of damage or even avoid any issues completely. Ultimately, winterizing your home can help you feel more ready — safe, secure, and at peace — during the colder months.
Ready to find your dream home in Las Vegas? Contact The Brendan King Group today! Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll help you make it happen.