The approach of winter means its time to check out a few areas of your property to avoid misery and possible expense later on. In a nutshell, “It’s all about water… mostly!” Here are some tips for preparing for the problems winter weather can bring:

DISCONNECT GARDEN HOSES – Leaving a garden hose attached to a modern “freeze proof” spigot can cause that faucet to freeze & break in a cold snap. The presence of the hose doesn’t allow water to completely drain from the fixture as it was designed. Also, garden hoses are easy to coil up when it’s 50 degrees out, impossible when it is 25!

COVER OUTDOOR WATER FAUCETS – Even though modern exterior faucets are called “freeze proof” it still is a good idea to cover them with an inexpensive ($2) foam cover during the winter.  It’s cheap insurance against a plumbing repair that can cost hundreds later!

CHECK THE ROOF FOR DEBRIS – There are 3 things to consider here:

  1. Leaves and branches on the roof can make your property look like something out of “The Addams Family”.
  2. In addition, debris can shorten the life of your roof by facilitating the growth of moss and mold on the roof surface.
  3. Finally, whatever you see on the roof will end up plugging up the gutters and downspouts.

CLEAN GUTTERS & CHECK DOWNSPOUTS – Even if you keep the roof clean, over time the gutters will fill up so every year or two carefully go up a ladder and take a look. Run a garden hose into the gutters to make sure that the water goes down the downspouts and doesn’t spill over the gutter. Leaking gutters can cause thousands of dollars of water damage to the walls of your home and cause mold growth inside the wall cavities.

CLEAN OUT DRIVEWAY & YARD DRAINS – Take the slotted cover off the drain and remove any accumulated sludge from the bottom of the drain body. This dirty but simple task will be almost impossible to do when the driveway is flooded after a torrential winter rainstorm and the water is running into your garage… OR YOUR HOME!

CHECK YOUR FURNACE FILTER – Yes, we all know that we are supposed to change them every 3 months or so, but how many actually do that? Very few, so take my advice and do it at least once a year at the same time you do all the things mentioned above. If the filter is dirty then your furnace won’t keep you warm when the colder winter nights arrive and it kicks in again after a long summertime rest!

IMPORTANT! – Usually there is just one filter inside the furnace unit itself… but sometimes there will be a second filter located behind the main air return grill, usually in the ceiling of a hallway in the home. If either filter is plugged then the furnace will quit working!

Spending an hour or two winterizing your property is wise preparation for the colder and wetter weather that we know is just around the corner here in the Pacific NorthWest. Also what is more fun than to be out in your yard on a sunny, crisp autumn afternoon doing some chores on your home.  Just be careful when your are up on the ladder!