Fall Winter Homeowner Checklist

With colder weather, here is a checklist of items you should remember to take care of in regards to winterizing your home. However, they may not all be applicable to your home.

INTERIOR

  • Regularly change your furnace filter. Check the manufacturer’s booklet for other routine maintenance that may be needed for your furnace.
  • Pour a pitcher of water in your floor drain and upper level over-flow plan which surrounds the base of your washer to prevent sewer gases from escaping into your home. (Proper maintenance calls for this to be done once a month).
    NOTE: Some over-flow pans may not be connected to the main plumbing system. Instead, the drain from the pan runs down to the utility room and discharges onto the floor. If this is the case in your home, it is not necessary to pour water in the pan.
  • Regularly test your smoke detectors. Vacuum the outside of the unit to clean it. (This should be done every six months).
  • Check the condition of the attic insulation – barely covered areas can be caused by winter winds. Water stained insulation can indicate a roof leak, ice blocked gutters, flashing failure, or snow blowing through roof vents.
  • Inspect and repair caulking around bath tubs, showers, sinks, and countertops. (Please refer to your warranty booklet for builder and homeowner responsibilities).
  • Inspect and repair grout for cracks around ceramic tiles. (Refer to your warranty booklet for builder and homeowner responsibilities).
  • Test your G.F.I. (Ground Fault Interrupter) circuits in bathrooms and kitchens.

HUMIDITY REDUCTION

1. Open all drapes, shades, shutters, etc. in the morning to allow a free flow across
the window surfaces
2. Put the furnace fan in the constant “ON” position – this circulates the air.
3. Run the bathroom fan and other exhaust fans longer than normal.
4. Crack a window occasionally for a source of dry, fresh air.
5. Building a fire in a wood burning fireplace will reduce humidity.
6. Turn off any humidifier. If there is frost on your windows, there is excess humidity.
7. Do not vent your dryer INTO your home.
8. In areas that are unfinished, it is very important that the windows and doors be stained, sealed, and varnished as soon as possible. This will protect the windows from any possible water damage that may result from frost or condensation.
*Please be aware that damage due to condensation or sun deterioration of the finish is not warrantable items. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to refinish any sun/water damaged areas.

  • Inspect adjustable threshold on exterior doors for proper adjustment.
  • Check & clean as necessary range hood vent filters (if applicable).
  • Re-adjust dampers and registers to re-zone home for winter heating.
  • Decorate safely for the holiday season. Do not overload circuits or use worn extension cords.
  • Do not build roaring fires or leave a fire unattended. Keep mesh screens closed and use glass doors according to manufacturer’s guidelines. NEVER use liquid fire starters indoors. Remember to close the damper when the fire is out – on a WOOD burning fireplace only – to conserve energy and to keep heating cost down.
  • Before using a wood burning fireplace, it is necessary to warm the fireplace flu. By warming the chimney, this will allow smoke from the fire to go up the chimney and not into the room. To do this, please take the following steps:

1. Make sure the chimney flue is clear and the fireplace damper is open.
2. Open the fresh air intake.
3. Roll up a newspaper. Light the paper and hold it in the firebox directly below the chimney flue until the smoke rises up the chimney.
When the fire is ready to be put out, remember the fresh air intake can be closed but the flue damper should be left open for a period of time to allow excess heat and gas to escape.

  • You should be prepared to cope with frozen pipes if severe weather conditions occur. Do not lower heat below 60’ degrees. In extremely cold periods, or if you will be away for an extended period, leave cabinet doors open under sinks to allow warm air to circulate. If power is interrupted, turn faucets on and allow water to run very slowly to prevent freezing. If frozen pipes are discovered, use a hair dryer to thaw them. DO NOT use a torch or hot water. Call your builder to report the problem.

EXTERIOR

  • After heavy snowfalls, check gutters and roof valleys for excessive build-up of snow or ice that may cause damage.
  • Test exterior and garage G.F.I. (Ground Fault Interrupter) circuits.
  • Homeowners are responsible for draining pipelines for exterior faucets. Be sure to shut off all exterior faucets prior to freezing temperatures. To do this, there is a separate shut-off valve on the inside of the home for each faucet. Turn this value off and go outside and open the exterior faucet. Where the hose connects to the exterior faucet, there is a plastic device inside that needs to be turned to the left and gently pulled so water will drain. Go back inside and open the air release/drain valve on the side or bottom of the inside valve to drain it. Leave this faucet open until spring. Failure to do this may cause your pipes to burst and this is NOT covered under your warranty. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, you must have the lines blown out and drain the anti-siphon back flow preventer.
  • Remove ice and snow from exterior concrete as soon as possible. Use sand or other NON-SALT materials on ice patches. Salt will “eat away” at concrete and the builder will not warrant your concrete if this should be the case.
  • Shut off air conditioner disconnect which is located on the exterior of your home by the air conditioner unit or turn off the air conditioner breaker in the breaker box. This is to prevent the air conditioner unit from being turned on accidentally, which could result in damage to the unit when frozen. Also, do not cover the air conditioning unit. Air should be allowed to move freely through the unit. If anything, a piece of wood can be set on top to prevent icicles from falling into the unit and damaging the metal.