Although Californians may not get hit as hard as other states during winter, the weather still takes its toll if houses aren’t properly prepared. If you don’t winterize your house beforehand, you could have a leaky roof due to rain, or your pipes might freeze and break due to the cold snap. And if it gets out of hand, you could even have a power outage.
So, how can a homeowner keep these winter woes at bay?
To assist you in covering all your bases, we’ve compiled a list of things you should do to prepare for winter in California:
1. Prepare for Warm Baths
Nothing compares to a hot bath to warm you up on a cold winter day. And in a place like Mission Viejo, with an average low of 48 degrees in the coldest month, December, you might be relying on them more often than you think.
But before you can enjoy a relaxing soak, you need to ensure your water heater is up for the task. If it’s more than a couple of years old, it might not be as efficient as it used to be. In that case, you must consider replacing it. More importantly, look up “water heater installations Mission Viejo CA” to ensure proper installation. You don’t want further issues with the water heater, so proper installation is critical.
You can also try and extend the life of your water heater by draining it annually to get rid of any sediment that’s built up. It will also improve its efficiency.
2. Clean Your Chimney and Fireplace
Spending winter nights wrapped in a blanket in front of a warm fireplace sounds idyllic. But, before you can enjoy that, you must ensure your fireplace and chimney are clean. A dirty chimney poses a risk of fire, and it can also cause smoke to accumulate in your home. Plus, the air quality in your house will suffer. So, it’s best to hire a professional chimney sweeper to clean it for you. They have the required tools and experience to do the job right. If you have a gas fireplace, you’ll still need to have it serviced by a professional annually. The professionals will clean the burner and check for any gas leaks.
For the rest of the winters, try:
- Keeping the area around your fireplace clean of flammable materials
- Building smaller fires, so there’s less smoke
- Opening the flue before lighting a fire
3. Prepare Your Pipes for the Cold
When water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it expands and causes your pipes to burst. To prevent this from happening, you need to take some precautionary measures.
First, locate all the exposed pipes in your house and insulate them. It will create a barrier between the cold air and the pipes to keep them from freezing. You can find pipe insulation at your local hardware store. Just measure the circumference of your pipes before you go so you get the right size.
Another effective way to prevent your pipes from freezing is by letting the water drip from the faucets when the temperature outside dips below freezing. A slowly moving stream of water is less likely to freeze than standing water.
Likewise, keep your house’s thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Sudden temperature changes can cause your pipes to expand and contract, leading to leaks.
4. Inspect Your Roof and Gutters
Your house’s exterior will take the brunt of the winter weather, so it’s important to ensure everything is in tip-top shape. You’ll want to focus on two main elements of your house: the roof and gutters. Your roof protects you and the rest of the house from the elements. In contrast, gutters keep the drainpipes clear so water can properly flow away from your home. Winter winds and hailstorms can damage your roof shingles and clog your gutters with leaves and debris. So, you must inspect them to ensure they are in working order. It’s safe to hire a professional to do this for you, but if you’re feeling up to the task, here are some tips:
- Check for cracked, missing, or curling shingles and repair them as needed
- Clear your gutters/downspouts of any debris
- Check to see that your gutters are properly attached to your house
5. Insulate Your Home
Does your house feel drafty? Is there a chill in the air, even when the heat is on? If so, your home might need more insulation. Adequate insulation will maintain the heat in your house, making it more comfortable and saving you money on your energy bill.
There are several types of insulation services near me, from spray foam to fiberglass, so you’ll need to research to determine which is best for your home. For instance, if you live in an older home, you might want to avoid insulation that requires removing walls.
It’s also important to know where to insulate. The most common areas are the attic, walls, and crawl spaces. But you might also want to insulate your windows and doors. You can do this by installing weather-stripping or caulking around them. If you want to invest in new pieces, storm doors and windows are a good option since they provide additional protection against the cold.
6. Put Your Swimming Pool and Garden to Bed
How many of us use our swimming pools in the winter? Not many. And nor do we spend time in our gardens. But just because we don’t use them doesn’t mean we should neglect them. Protecting them from the harsh winter weather is crucial so you can enjoy them come springtime.
To winterize your swimming pool, you’ll need to:
- Clean the pool and remove all the debris
- Balance the water’s pH levels
- Add algaecide and shock the pool
- Limit the water level to below the skimmer
- Cover the pool
Winterizing your garden is a little less arduous. All it takes is removing dead plants, putting down mulch, and covering delicate plants. If you have a deck or patio, you’ll also want to clean it and put away any furniture that might get damaged by the winter weather. Some signs that your deck needs to be replaced are if the boards are warped, cracked, or splintering. So, addressing these issues before the winter will save you the heartbreak of coming out to a damaged deck in the spring.
Since there are still a few weeks before winter officially starts, now is the perfect time to start getting your home ready. Research your options, ask for referrals for respective contractors, and start getting multiple quotes. It’ll ensure you’re getting the most done for the best price.
We also recommend stocking on winter essentials like warm clothing, blankets, and non-perishable food items. This way, you’ll be prepared for whatever nature throws your way.