WINTER IS COMING: Boulder’s first snowfalls can happen as early as the first week of October. That means it’s crunch time for pre-winter home maintenance. Our Compass Boulder realtors know better than anyone how tempting it is to spend autumn galavanting through the aspen groves and marveling at the fall colors. But it’s important to spend at least one day prepping your home for snowfall. You want your home to be functioning safely and efficiently. After completing this checklist, you’ll be safe to roast marshmallows over the fire until the wildflowers begin to peak through the snow in April.
The Compass Boulder real estate agents at Burgess Group Realty recommend putting these items on your winterization check-list:
Clean out gutters and drains
Winter in Boulder means increased precipitation. Cleaning your gutters definitely isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. But well-maintained gutters reduce your risk of roof damage. If your gutter is clogged, that clog will turn to ice after the first freeze. This puts a major strain on your roof and can create ice dams. When the ice dam eventually melts, water can leak into your roof and cause unseen damage to your ceiling, insulation, and walls.
Once your gutters are clean, use the hose to flush out the gutters and drains. Check around for any signs of drainage issues. Telltale signs of drainage issues are water stains and mildew. The foundation and attic are hotspots for these issues. It’s good practice to check these spaces regularly.
Check window wells
Window wells let light and ventilation into your basement. But they put your basement at risk if not maintained. Check the liner that separates the foundation from the wall. Winter can be the worst time for basement flooding. A simple liner check should do the trick.
Clean dryer vents
Dryers get more use in the winter. There is no option to hang your laundry out to dry on the breezy clothesline in the winter months. Plus, I’ll be the first to admit that I love tumbling my wool socks and sweaters and getting them nice and toasty before heading out into the crisp mountain air. But unfortunately, dryers are the cause of over 15,000 house fires each year. It’s important to minimize risk. Clean the lint filter of your dryer like normal, and then take the vacuum to it. After you’ve cleaned the front lint filter, clean out the back vent. These can be found at the back of your dryer. Use a duct brush to clean out the vent piping. You’d be surprised at how much lint builds up in this forgotten place! After reconnecting the vent, run your dryer for about 15 minutes (with no clothes inside!). This will force air through the vents and will blow out any excess lint that may have accumulated.
Bleed your radiators
Bleeding your radiator before each winter will ensure that your radiator runs at full force at the highest efficiency throughout the cold Colorado months. Our Boulder realtors advise you to:
- Turn all your radiators on maximum temperature
- Wait a few minutes for them to all crank up
- Then turn off the central heating. Let all the radiators cold down.
- Turn off the radiators one by one.
- Open the bleed valves. Put a tray under the valve and let out all the air. The tray will catch any water that comes out.
- Once all the air is out, close the valve and repeat the process for any other radiators.
Seal leaky doors and windows
When you close the lock on your door, do you notice a gap between the seals? If so, you’ll need to install new weatherstripping before the cold sets in. The same thing goes for your windows. Make sure there are no air leaks. This way you’ll avoid any drafts in your home. All the warm air from your heating system will be trapped in your home, making your home more efficient.
Prep your tools for winter storms (shovels, gloves, window scrapers)
Get your winter tools in order! Track down long-lost window scrapers from last year and put your warmest winter gloves in the closet.
Clean your Chimney
A yearly chimney sweep and inspection are crucial for the safety of your home in the winter. You never know what kind of critters have made a home in your fireplace through the summer. If you used your fireplace last season it could also have lots of build-up, which is a big risk for house fires. For this task, it’s easiest to call a professional. Although we cannot promise your chimney sweep will be anything like the one in Mary Poppins.
Trim any branches that hang over your roof, fence, parking spots, or power lines. When snow begins to fall by the foot, it’ll make your tree branches extremely heavy. This makes them more likely to snap. The last thing you need before work in the morning is to deal with a branch through the roof of your car!
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This is important to do regularly in any home, but especially if you plan on using an indoor fireplace this winter. Cozying up in front of the fire is one of our Compass Boulder realtor team’s all-time favorite things to do in winter, but it shouldn’t be done unless executed safely. Ensuring your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date is imperative no matter if you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace.
Reverse ceiling fans
If your home has tall ceilings, click the “reverse” button on your ceiling fans this winter to help make your home more efficient. This is a hack that not a ton of people know about! During the summer months, your fan should rotate clockwise. In the winter, reversing the fan counterclockwise helps to recirculate heat back down into your living space.
Need more advice?
The Compass Boulder real estate agents here at Burgess Group are experts in all things real estate, and that includes home maintenance! Give us a call with any questions. We love helping out any new homeowners, and especially anyone who is on the verge of experiencing their first Boulder winter.