If you live in a place where winter temperatures drop below freezing and snow is a real concern, then winterizing your home’s exterior is a must. It only takes the pipes bursting one time or the roof caving in on your family at dinner to realize that of all the types of weather out there, extreme cold is the one that can cause the most damage.
Fortunately, with a winterizing routine you can work into your regular home maintenance schedule will help stave off disaster.
> Clear the Foundation: Most foundations are made of concrete, which means they are susceptible to the same cycle of cracking, water seeping, freezing, and further cracking that cause potholes to form on roadways. You can avoid many of these damages by clearing dead and living plant matter away from the perimeter of your home’s foundation. When water has an unobstructed path to flow away from the foundation, it’s much less likely to linger where it can seep into the foundation and do the most damage.
> Reinforce the Foundation: If you do notice cracks in the foundation while you clear away the plant matter, we promise you don’t have to scrap the house and start all over again. Instead, you can seal the cracks with mortar, concrete patches, or even a foam filler. If you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, you can also hire a professional to come in and repair the foundation for you.
> Seal Crawl Space Entry: Many homes have a crawl space that’s accessible through the outdoors. To prevent water and snow from seeping in, you’ll want to make sure the crawl space access door is fully sealed and water tight.
> Blow Out the Sprinklers: Ideally, you should do this in late fall before the freezing temperatures set in. Automatic sprinkler systems often retain some water inside the pipes, which means they’re susceptible to cold weather damage. When the water freezes, it expands and can cause the pipes to burst, which isn’t cheap to repair. Many families opt to hire a professional since you need specialized equipment to do this. (If you have attached hoses, it’s a good idea to remove those and store them, too.)
> Winterize Outdoor Faucets: Faucets are also susceptible to the damages of freezing and water expanding, and the damages can be expensive, as they happen inside the wall of your home (not an easy place to access to repair). If possible, turn off the water supply to your outside faucets. You can also put an insulated cover on the faucet to keep it warm all year round.
These kinds of tasks tend to require a little more expertise and equipment than just sealing your windows against drafts, so don’t be afraid to hire a winterizing specialist if you need. It’s worth the investment to know that no matter what the weather throws at you, you and your family will stay warm and dry.