Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

In many parts of the country the seasons are changing, to a colder season, winter. Now would be a great time to do an exterior home inspection to get ready for winter.

With the extreme cold temperatures associated with winter, the materials used in the construction of your home’s exterior will  contract, causing old and brittle caulk to crack, which causes gaps where water and snow can enter. Water will gain access into these small cracks, or gaps and freeze. When it freezes it expands, making the gap larger, which in turn allows more water to enter and freeze, and the cycle continues.

When you do your fall walk around the exterior of your home one of the areas you need to be on the lookout for are areas where  dis-similar materials meet, such as brick and vinyl siding, aluminum soffit and siding, wood window frames and brick, basically any penetration into the exterior walls of your home. These are the areas where caulk is typically used and is an area that you need to maintain.

Another area to pay attention to is the gutter area. Pay particular attention to the surface of the gutters. Dark streaks on the face of the gutter can indicate water is overflowing and could mean the gutter downspout is clogged and needs to be cleaned. You also need to look under the gutter on the fascia for the same types of streaks as this can mean water is running down behind the gutters. Both of these conditions will lend themselves to forming ice dams, which can cause a lot of damage if water finds a way inside the structure.

Keep your eyes open for areas of peeling or blistering paint, a sign that moisture has already gotten into the wood. This exposed wood is now ready to absorb and hold lots of water, which is turn leads to rot. Insects, particularly ants love damp wood and given the chance will eat away an entire 2×4 in short order.

Loose, damaged, or missing shingles are something else to be aware of. Most people are not fond of climbing on the roof and I don’t blame them. Do your inspection of the roof from a ladder when you are cleaning your gutters or use a pair of binoculars with your feet firmly planted on the ground.

Bushes, or tree branches close to or rubbing on the siding, soffit or roof of the house should be trimmed back at least 18” as the weight of ice and snow will cause them to bend more than you think.

All hoses should be drained and disconnected from the sillcock. Water can sit in the hose and freeze damaging the hose or sillcock. I have seen a frost proof sillcock with the hose still connected freeze and split inside the home, allowing water to run into the basement, causing major damage. Rain barrels should also be emptied as they will freeze and can crack

If you have an energy efficient 90+ furnace and/or hot water tank check to make sure the area below the exhaust pipe is completely clear, a minimum of 36”. Condensation from the exhaust will drip and form icicles which if not given enough room can block the opening of the exhaust shutting down the furnace. You also should make sure you have a chimney cap and that it is secured tightly

Preventive Maintenance especially going into winter will help to prevent larger costly issues. No preventive maintenance list can be complete as each house presents its own set of potential problems. Within this article I have outlined the major areas that trouble can and will start. If you have a particular area or concern you are not certain about feel free to drop me a line at

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One Response to “Getting Your Home Ready for Winter”

  1. Jeanette says:

    Umm, are you really just giving this info out for nhoting?

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