Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s not too much required to prepare your home for the winter. Most parts of the Bay Area have very mild winters that won’t require much preparation beyond a good coat and a sturdy umbrella. However, it does still get cold and snowy in some areas and healthy dose of rain is not uncommon for several days at a time. With that in mind, here’s some tips to help prepare your home for the Bay Area winter.
Windows & Doors
Over time, windows and doors can develop air gaps that let in cool air from the outside, or in the case of windows, simply chill the areas around them if not properly treated. Using caulk to seal up gaps around windows, doors, and utility holes can go a long way toward saving money on your heating bill and keeping your home warm. A expandable sealant like caulk can do wonders around baseboards and crown moulding if you have a particularly breezy home and weather-stripping can do the same around doors. If curtains over your windows aren’t enough to keep the winter breeze out, you can winterize them with insulated plastic film to keep things warmer. If it’s breezy and plastic insulation isn’t needed or desired, insulated curtains can be opened to let in sunshine and closed in the evening to maintain heat inside.
Heaters & Ducts
Having your heaters and ducts inspected by a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) specialist can increase heat efficiency in your house. Filters also need to be replaced on any furnace every six to 12 months, which means it’s not a bad idea to have it done annually (at the latest) when you’re winter-proofing your home. When it comes to heating and cooling systems, keeping a regular maintenance schedule is the key to not just keeping your home properly heated and cooled, but it can also help diagnose and prevent long-term problems that can be costly if not addressed promptly.
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Chimneys, Roofs, And Gutters, Oh My!
Just like it’s important to stay on top of maintenance for your heating system, it’s also a good idea to do the same for a fireplace. If you have any cracks of damages in your chimney, that’s a possible source of cool air getting in. Similarly, the damper should be periodically inspected to make sure that it’s seals properly when in the closed position.
Attic, Insulation, & Pipes
If your house has an attic or a basement, it’s important to make sure that both are properly insulated to prevent heat loss during winter months. Caulking can also be used in the attic or basement to address any cracks or areas where outside air can get in. If you live in a climate where the temperature gets below freezing, it’s a good idea to use insulation to protect your pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes will not only bring your water flow to a halt, but they can also burst, which can cause damage to the entire home and be costly to remedy.
Roof & Gutters
Roofs and gutters can easily be overlooked when winterizing your home, but it’s important to remember to take care of the outside of your house too. Cleaning your gutters and removing built up leaves, sticks, and debris is an important step in preparing for winter. Clogged gutters can cause “ice dams” to build up, which prevent snow and water from proper run-off, potentially causing damage to the roof. Gutters should be cleaned at least once a year in order to protect your roof.
Winter Home Maintenance Resources
Better Business Bureau – The Better Business Bureau is a resource that can be used to find a number of different contractors for home repair and maintenance, plus the site makes it easy to search within your area locally.