Mr. Fix It
Winterize Your Home

At The Kittleman Group, we are dedicated to helping with all your home selling and buying needs, including house preparation and tackling any obstacles along the way.

With the holidays just around the corner, winter weather is on the way. Now is the time to get a head start on winterizing your home. Winter normally brings a fairly significant change in climate, and as a homeowner, you will want to consider and address these tasks to winterize your home.

Clean your gutters

During the fall, your gutters will fill with leaves and debris that can block your gutters and downspouts. When heavy rain, snow or ice descend on your roof, your gutters are unable to remove the runoff quickly enough to protect your roof from leaks. Take the time now to clean your gutters or hire a professional gutter cleaner so you don’t have to climb on the roof.

In addition, clean gutters reduce the risk of infestation and decrease the risk of mold in your home. While you clean your gutters, look for problem areas that may indicate that it’s time to trim the trees in your yard.

Trim your trees

Take a moment to examine your trees closely. Look for any limbs that could possibly hit your car or knock out power to your home if they broke off during a winter snow storm. Home insurance may not cover any damage caused from dead trees. Take time now to trim any weak branches that look as if they could cause problems during winter storms. In addition to preventing expensive damage, trimming your trees during mild weather is much easier than doing it during freezing temperatures.

Repair roof damage

If your roof has sustained any damage, have it repaired now. Summer hail and windstorms can loosen shingles, exposing your roof to damage during winter weather. Have your roof evaluated by a qualified roof inspector, and if necessary, contact your insurance for assistance in repairing a damaged roof.

Caulk windows & seal leaks

Take time now to shut out drafts by caulking windows and adding weather stripping to doorways. Pay special attention to areas around windows, doors and your foundation. Now that the nights have cooled down, you can probably locate drafts coming into your home. Once you identify areas where water might seep in or ice could form, address these problems. Caulk cracks or install weather stripping where appropriate. Ask a professional to handle repairs that are outside your comfort zone.

Check your furnace filter

Before you start running your furnace, check the filter to determine if it needs to be replaced. During the winter months, it is not uncommon to replace the filter every 4 to 6 weeks. Having a clean filter helps your furnace run more efficiently, which can save you energy and money.

Consider upgrading your thermostat to a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to program your thermostat to only work when you need it and can save money on heating during the winter. Many utility companies offer home energy services that can help you reduce high winter energy bills. A home energy audit lets you know where your home wastes energy and what you can do to make it more energy efficient. This can involve anything from installing additional insulation to replacing poorly performing appliances.

Weatherproof your plumbing

Stop frozen pipes before they happen and prevent expensive water damage by properly insulating the plumbing pipes in your home. In majority of cases, the pipes freeze at the temperature of around 20 degrees. Insulating your water pipes and hot water heater can help trim your water heating costs this winter, especially if your water pipes run through a chilly or unheated basement.

Let us connect you to an expert who can give you advice on the best way to insulate your pipes or come take a look at your home in preparation for the winter.

Maintain your fireplace

In order to keep your fireplace working safely, it requires regular maintenance. This includes removing ashes from the firebox when they become deeper than an inch. Never vacuum the ashes and always wear a mask and gloves.

Monitor your fireplace throughout the season for signs of creosote and soot and test it each time you make a fire by lighting a few small pieces of wood. Check to see if the smoke rises vertically up into the chimney. If not, check that the damper is open. If smoke still fills the room, have the chimney inspected and cleaned.

Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep. A basic cleaning will cost anywhere from $150 to $350. This should be done every year at the end of the burning season, more often if you use your fireplace regularly.

We can help! If you are thinking about listing your home this winter, let us take your photos NOW before the grass turns brown. Contact Laura at [email protected] for an obligation-free pre-listing consultation.

If you have questions about how to sell your home in the winter, creating weatherproof curb-appeal, or staging your home, we can advise you. We also have a list of reputable handymen that are perfect for all these types of projects. Give us a call today: (301) 785-5889.

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