Source: Valley Roadrunner

Your five must-do tasks for preparing your home for winter

by Jeana Boulos

December 12, 2013

Weíve already seen the first rain of the season and the weather is quickly getting colder. Valley Center sees the most cold weather and rain towards the end of January and throughout February. If you havenít already prepped your home for the winter, now would definitely be a good time to start. You donít want to be stuck in a 4-day-long rain storm with a heater that stops working or a roof that starts leaking. Taking the time to prepare everything now will save you money and make sure your home is a comfortable place in the winter season. Here are five must-do tasks to get you started on winterizing your home.

1. Insulation:

One major way to use up a lot of energy to heat your home is by having unknown air leaks around your windows and doors. Air spaces around outlets are also other ways that heat can escape. The first step is to identify all areas that need to be resealed. Go around your house and check if you can see any light shining around a window or door, thatís one sign that you have an air leak. Another would be to take a candle and hold it next to any area that you think air might be escaping, the movement of the flame will let you know if that is also an air leak. Resolve this issue by removing any old weatherstripping and replacing it with new weatherstripping. Ask a professional at your local hardware store to help you choose the right weatherstripping for your home.

2. Fireplace:

Many of us enjoy using fireplaces in the winter and burning wood for heat can help keep heating costs lower. Fireplaces, however, also need maintenance to keep heating your home efficiently and prevent the accumulation of dangerous soot. It is recommended that if you use your fireplace at least once a week during the winter, you should have it checked annually. Get the help of a chimney sweep to make sure your fireplace is cleaned properly and to prevent chimney fires. A few things you can do is to clear out ashes that are getting in the way of building a proper fire. Wait two days after your last use to clear out the ashes so that you donít throw away any still-hot coals that may start a fire. Poor ventilation in your chimney can cause your chimney flue to clog and leave a buildup of soot around your fireplace opening. Wear gloves and use a stiff brush to clean around the fireplace opening.

3. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors:

Make sure to check your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors to see if they are working properly and replace any dead batteries. With more people using wood burning to heat their home in the winter, the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is higher.

4. Roof and gutters:

The buildup of leaves from the fall can leave your roof and gutters under an unnecessary and dangerous weight. Make sure to clear debris from your roof and gutters or hire a professional to do it. Check all your downspouts for blockage and make sure they are directing water a few feet away from your house. A great way to do that is to run water from your hose through your downspouts and see if the water comes out well on the other end. Also, check your roof for any broken or peeling tiles as well as any water leaks or water damage.

5. Furnace:

It is best to have a professional do a check on your furnace at least once a year and make sure your thermostat adjusts properly. This can make a major difference on your heating bills and will make sure youíre not left in the cold if your heater suddenly breaks down. If you donít get a professional in to take a look, you should at least get the the filters replaced regularly.

Armed with these 5 winter must-doís, you are well on your way to having a comfortable and safe winter season. Wishing you a warm and happy winter!

Jeana Boulos is a local real estate professional living in Valley Center. Feel free to contact her for any of your real estate needs at 760-517-6316 or Visit her website at

CA BRE #01923953