Rain? Colder Temperatures? Wind? Snow?
We’ve all heard weather preparedness messages and think, do I have the time or there too much to do? And then when winter weather hits, we wished we had done something to get our home read? To make it easier, let’s break this readiness process down.
First, let’s start with rain. For your home, the big one is clearing your gutters of debris. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage to your home including your roof, siding and around the base of your home, raising the risk of water in your basement.
Getting on a ladder to clear your gutters can be dangerous. It may be best to have professionals tackle this task. There are a number of certified vendors who can help for a lot less money than you think. Get a minimum of three bids. Those clearing your gutters can also service your roof at the same time.
In addition, ensure your downspouts are draining properly as water descends from your roof and also drains well away from your home’s foundation. Again, water can find its way into your basement if your downspouts and drain systems are not working properly.
A simple and inexpensive step to combat cold temperatures is to place an inexpensive insulated foam cover over your outdoor water faucets. These covers will help mitigate frozen pipes that can be quite expensive if we find ourselves in an extended cold spell.
Another inexpensive cold weather combatant is exterior door insulators. Feel around your front or side doors to see if there is any colder outside air seeping inside. If so, these insulators will help bring that seepage to a halt.
Have you had your furnace serviced recently? An efficient and properly working furnace will keep you warm throughout the winter. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? During the heating season, they should be changed once a month, and given the recent wildfire smoke episode, it likely needs to be changed. Furnace filters are an easy homeowner task.
Regarding ceiling insulation, the current Snohomish County code is for R38 insulation. Having enough ceiling insulation will help keep you warm and cozy through the winter, ease your heating costs, and help keep your home cooler during hot summer weather too!
Before the strong wind blows again, is there anything outside that needs to be secured or perhaps brought inside? Outdoor patio furniture should be stowed to avoid flying away. If tucked away outside, a tarp can be used to wrap and cover the furniture, and keep it dry until spring. Cushions should be brought inside.
If your home has nearby trees, perhaps a tree expert could thin some limbs so the wind blows through the trees instead of into the trees, decreasing the odds on toppling any trees onto your home or yard.
If the power goes out, perhaps you have a portable generator. Snohomish County PUD reminds us to never run a generator within your home, garage or near an open window. Carbon monoxide can be fatal. Ensure your generator is properly ventilated outside. Also avoid plugging your generator directly into your home’s electrical system without a proper transfer switch so your PUD crew working to restore power service is not at risk.
With a La Nina winter anticipated, the odds are quite good for at least one snow event for the North Sound this winter. If you need a snow shovel, now is the time to obtain one before they sell out. Remember that if you have a sidewalk in front of your home, county code states that the sidewalk should be shoveled within 24 hours of the snowfall. If you have an elderly neighbor, offer to shovel their sidewalk as well. In addition, note where your street storm drains are and keep them clear so the melting snow can drain properly and not pond on the roads or find its way into driveways.
To summarize, some easy inexpensive steps to take before winter include: a water faucet foam insulator, a fresh furnace filter, clearing your gutters of debris, any exterior door insulation, a snow shovel, and stowing anything outdoors that could fly away in strong wind. Have a safe and warm winter!