Getting Ready for Winter
What can I do to protect my home before winter arrives?
While the hose is out, use it to winterize your gutters and downspouts– clean them. Overflowing gutters and blocked downspouts resulting from debris buildup defeat the purpose of their existence. Winter rainwater going directly from roof to ground will fall too close to your foundation, and may cause damage that could mean economic disaster. Wet sub areas precipitate foundation shift, resulting in creaking, cracking, and mildewing. Once assured that gutters and downspouts are leak-free and running clear, the next step will be to insure that water carried to ground level is transported at least three feet away from the perimeter of your house (a short piece of drain pipe will do here). For best results, it is recommended that roof water be carried to a location as close to a community storm drain as possible.
Season changes provide a good schedule for cleaning or changing the filters in your central heating and/or cooling system. Clean filters maximize system efficiency and minimize operating costs. Best of all, the best filters money can buy are very inexpensive and take only a minute or two to install (four seasons, four filter changes).
Another wonderful money-saving method of keeping precious heated air in and unwanted cold air out is to purchase and install plate gaskets for electrical switches and plugs. Best results are achieved by concentrating on exterior walls, but this is so inexpensive and simple a task that the extra precaution of doing interior walls as well makes a lot of sense. The California Energy Code gives a high rating to this procedure.
When you keep water out and warm air in, your winter will be more comfortable and, chances are, the following summer will be more repair-free than ever before.